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winter 2018 rhode island school of design

// breaking through

inside FEATURES // 26

Feeling Fashion

Shifting Focus

When Mike Eckhaus 10 SC and Zoe Latta 10 TX rented a studio together in 2011, they inadvertently launched an exciting new fashion label with a bright future.

Always ready to try something new, Brian Selznick 88 IL rose to the challenge of writing the screenplay for Wonderstruck, the new film made from his novel.


// 09 // 03 comments online, incoming, ongoing

// 08 listen reflections, opinions, points of view

// 32

// 38

Mutable Approach to Making


In conjunction with a major exhibition, Joe Bradley 99 PT talks with fellow artist Carroll Dunham about the mysteries of studio practice.

pushes through creative ennui to create a monumental new diptych for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

// 46 // 10 look

• joyous exploration • liberty and justice for all • rethinking reusables • quirky combinations

// 42 reflect a message from the president

// 55

Julie Mehretu MFA 97 PT/PR

// 66 unravel our major abbreviations

// 74

// 44 two college street

// 56 impact

campus community newsbits

who’s giving to risd + why

// 52 six degrees connecting through the alumni association

// 60 moving forward class notes + profiles

// 96 sketchbook ideas in progress

// 81 facing page: Washer / Dryer / Dishwasher (Low Model) (2017, Lutindzi grass, lukhasi, sisal, aloe excelsa, bone, horn, 33 x 75 x  34") is among the wild pieces made by Misha Kahn 11 FD for his late fall solo show Midden Heap at Friedman Benda in NYC (see also page 84).

cover: courtesy of the artist and P•P•O•W, New York | above third from left: ©Joe Bradley • photography by Rob McKeever, courtesy of Gagosian | above far right: photo by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc., courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery ©Julie Mehretu facing page: photo by Dan Kukla

// 20

start here

//  thoughts from the editor

Breaking Through There’s nothing quite like the rush that comes with making a true creative breakthrough. It can leave you giddy and breathless—almost suspended in the moment, as President Rosanne Somerson 76 ID points out on page 42. Maybe the elation comes in part from how difficult it is to get there. When artists and designers step into the unknown in making something new, it takes effort— pushing, pulling, hitting the wall (or banging your head against it)—along with tenacity, perseverance and a true belief in process to transform ideas and imagination into tangible form. Curiosity, risk, experimentation and the sting of failure all play into it.

Ultimately, though, something shifts and there’s a surge of excitement. Even if it doesn’t come as a eureka-moment, the way forward becomes clear. Breakthroughs offer the reward of personal affirmation, satisfaction and renewal—and ideally, shared recognition from people who respond with their own sense of wonder. In this issue, alumni of all ages and working in disparate disciplines help unpack the many ways in which breakthroughs are the elusive elixir of creative practice that keep them thirsty for more.

— Liisa Silander

contributors E D ITOR / LEAD WR ITE R

Liisa Silander



cover + listen // 08

Elizabeth Eddins 00 GD

Robin F. Williams 06 IL


A transplant from Ohio, Robin now lives and works in Brooklyn and teaches illustration at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. The cover image is from her latest series of paintings, which — with characteristic wry humor — she calls Your Good Taste Is Showing. That’s also the name of her most recent solo show, which drew a lot of attention during its one-month run (October 12 – November 11) at P • P • O • W gallery in NYC. Robin’s work was also included in two group shows in 2017 and has been featured in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Juxtapoz and The Observer, among other publications.

Anna Cousins CONTR I B UT I N G D E S I G N E R S

Sarah Rainwater Sarah Verity 12 GD CONTR I B UTI N G WR ITE R S

Robert Albanese Lauren Maas Simone Solondz PH OTOG RAPH E R

Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH campus/event photos unless otherwise credited D I R E CTOR OF ALU M N I R E LATI ON S

Christina Hartley 74 IL PR I NTI N G

Lane Press, Burlington, VT paper: 70# Opus Satin (R) FSC text and 80# Sterling Dull (R) FSC cover Quiosco, designed by Cyrus Highsmith 97 GD (see page 74) and Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk COVE R

It Is Not a Pipe (detail, 2016, acrylic and oil on panel, 30 x 30") by Robin F. Williams 06 IL

back cover + feature // 32

Joe Bradley 99 IL

Widely known for his powerful abstract paintings and spontaneous drawings, Joe generally works in series that allow him to explore new ground — most recently in sculpture. The Maine-born artist is represented by Gagosian in NYC, where he has lived since graduating from RISD. Joe’s work is on view this winter in a mid-career survey exhibition organized by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY and at Brandeis University’s Rose Art Museum through January 28. He has participated in such major international exhibitions as the MoMA show The Forever Now: Contemporary Paintings in an Atemporal World (2014), Frieze London (2014), FIAC (2014), Portugal Arte 10 (2010) and the Whitney Biennial (2008), among others.


Two College Street Providence, Rhode Island 02903-2784 USA Published twice a year by RISD Media (in conjunction with Alumni Relations) AD D R E S S U P DATE S

Postmaster: Send address changes to Office of Advancement Services RISD, Two College Street Providence, RI 02903 USA Or email


sketchbook // 96

John Gardner BArch 81

John is a partner and principal of Cooper Gardner, a multidisciplinary design office in Bermuda, where he realizes master plans and micro solutions for commercial, hospitality and private residential clients. Recently, he has focused on using innovative materials and taking a more sculptural/minimalist approach to design. John is also an active multidisciplinary artist who works in a variety of media, including drawing, painting, furniture design, stained glass and mixed-media installations. In addition, he loves teaching (most recently at RISD in the fall) and sailing his 50-foot yacht.

back cover: Day World (detail, 2016, oil on canvas, 77 x 101") | Joe Bradley portrait by Stefan Ruiz



//  online, incoming, ongoing

top: photo by Lisa Kahane, courtesy of Jenny Holzer, ©Jenny Holzer, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


In late October, when a national group of artists, arts administrators, curators, gallerists, scholars, writers and other art world workers posted a protest letter online, this is the image they chose to convey their message. Jenny Holzer MFA 77 PT made Abuse of Power Comes As No Surprise in 1982. The letter begins: “We are not surprised…. We have been groped, undermined, harassed, infantilized, scorned, threatened and intimidated by those in positions of power who control access to resources and opportunities…. “This open letter stems from a group discussion about sexual harassment within our field.... The conversation has branched out further and internationally.” Learn more at #NOTSURPRISED or

Crit Week The end of the semester hasn’t changed all that much at RISD over the years — nor has students’ ability to catch a few winks whenever and wherever possible.

Please let us know what you think — about this issue or anything else on your mind: email


winter 2018


Whoooah. Holy crap. We got Best Mobile Game [for Monument Valley 2] @thegameawards! Hot dang! Laura Cason 12 IL (aka @miss_lady_pants), a senior artist at ustwo Games in London and on Forbes’ 2018 list of 30 Under 30 young entrepreneurs to watch (in the Gaming category)

Common Values When the ACLU recently turned to graphic designer Scott Stowell 90 GD and his team at Open to develop its new visual identity, he invited Tobias Frere-Jones 92 GD to design the typeface used in the new wordmark. “The new visual identity (like the ACLU and the United States) invites everybody to participate,” says Stowell. “Every choice we made [during the design process] was focused on what we all have in common.”

PROMOTING PROTEST “After the election, I was alternately depressed, shocked and angry (and still am),” says Assistant Professor Calef Brown in explaining a poster shown in RISD’s recent Illustration Faculty Exhibition at ISB Gallery. “Outward expressions of racism, misogyny, xenophobia, hatred towards our Muslim brothers and sisters and the LGBTQ community had been growing and becoming normalized. Hate crimes have been on the rise. The country was and is more divided than ever.” So after the 2016 election Brown turned to communicating the way he knows best—by creating a poster about protest for elementary school-age kids. With support from two of his publishers— Houghton Mifflin and Macmillan— the poster was published by School Library Journal in early 2017 and sent out with the magazine to 15,000 school librarians.


// comments

“I have received many appreciative messages from librarians and teachers, and lots of photos of the poster displayed in classrooms and libraries,” Brown says. But “many—especially those teaching in public schools—were reluctant to put it up for fear of backlash and it being seen as specifically anti-Trump, which it is and isn’t.”

You share this secret language. The other RISD alums in Brooklyn—they just kind of get it. It never leaves you. Rachel Cope 03 SC quoted in Architectural Digest — in a piece called How RISD Created the Next Generation of Design Luminaries (11.6.17)

I remind myself that it’s not the recognition that will keep this going—it’s putting in the hard work. Philadelphia-based illustrator Armando Veve 11 IL , selected for Forbes’ 2018 list of 30 Under 30 young entrepreneurs to watch (in the Art & Style category)

At the time, my life was so crazy… [but] I thought, Why don’t I do whatever I want? I don’t care if people like it. All of a sudden, the ideas started flowing…. Tae Ashida 87 AP in a Vogue interview called Japan’s First Lady of Fashion on Dressing Royals, Empowering Women and the Future of Japanese Design (11.9.17)

The truth is that focusing on such harsh subjects is one of the only things in life that makes me feel free. Texas-based artist Vincent Valdez 00 IL speaking about his racially and politically driven work during a visit to RISD (11.16.17)

FANTASYLAND RISD Illustration faculty member R. Kikuo Johnson 03 IL provided apt visual support for the pithy messages at the core of How America Lost Its Mind, an enlightening essay in the September 2017 issue of The Atlantic by author and Studio 360 radio show host Kurt Andersen, who earned a RISD honorary degree in 2004. “We have passed through the looking glass and down the rabbit hole,” notes Andersen, the author of the newly released book Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire—A 500-Year History. “America has mutated into Fantasyland.” “When [Trump] entered political show business, after threatening to do so for most of his adult life,” Andersen points out, “the character he created was unprecedented—presidential candidate as insult comic with an artificial tan and ridiculous hair, shamelessly unreal and whipped into shape as if by a pâtissier. He used the new and remade pieces of the fantasyindustrial complex as nobody had before.”

PLAYING THE TRUMP CARD Just prior to Labor Day, Joe McKendry 94 IL (see also page 73) made At Least the Weekend is Long (right) available as a print through Project2021, which “sells original posters to benefit causes that have been under threat since Trump was elected.” All proceeds from the sale of his 11 x 14" print benefit the ACLU. Brooklyn-based illustrator Melinda Beck 89 GD (see also page 69) has been capturing the lunacy since well before Election Day 2016. Among her inspired posts post-Inauguration are these:

Please let us know what’s on your mind by emailing


winter 2018


Winter at RISD Just enough snow fell to coat RISD in white as final crits were wrapping up in December. The flurry of the season extended indoors as students showed final work in studios throughout campus.


An example of Smith’s tracciato process of combining drawing and photography, inspired by the former EHP student’s frequent return visits to Italy.


// comments

Being a 1964 EHP graduate, I have found myself slipping back to Rome for the past 20 years—most recently every February for a month at the Cenci with Ezio—which rekindles my memories of good hard work, delicious relationships and a new sense of stature we all experienced back then in beautiful Roma. Recently, in past copies of XYZ, I have been unimpressed with the lack of tribute to the “art of drawing” in a classical sense; color yes, ideas yes, but no demonstrable proof of the hard work of drawing articulately and truthfully—either from a model of human form or a still life, landscape, whatever. This has been troubling to me! Where has all this hard seeing work gone? Is no one interested in drawing in a classical sense anymore? Wouldn’t we all like to strive to be a little closer to a Raphael, if only once in a lifetime? Fortunate to have experienced the last drawing class of the late President John Frazier 1909 PT, boy was I proud when he put my drawings on the coveted right side of the big board. From that point on, my artistic life got launched and I knew henceforth the thrill and challenge of making drawings that people value. After graduation I worked for the Mexican Olympics in Mexico City in 1968. Then in the ’80s, photos and computer-generated imagery launched, changing the way we worked. The question I continually asked myself was how to combine drawing in a classical sense with a computer program like Photoshop and have both mediums maintain their individuality and attributes.

After many more trips to Italy, I came upon this idea of marrying photography with the drawing registered right above it. I used layers in Photoshop—first for the photograph and then, after registering the vellum carefully on top of the photograph, to make pen and ink drawings of the photograph. I then married these to the photograph. Which part of the photograph to leave below and which part of the drawing to bring forward became the biggest aesthetic decision, but combining selected areas of the photograph with the best parts of the drawing ultimately made for a much stronger image. I now call this manner of working the tracciato (Italian for “tracing”) process. So, am I a photographer or a draftsman? Maybe both. In my mind, as long as the final result is beautiful, it doesn’t really matter—as long as the drawing comes first! Susu Breck Smith 64 PT Portland, ME

SUMMING UP Excerpts from a few of the many great submissions to the annual booklet produced for the 50th reunion class: Following RISD: USAF (Tucson) ’67–72, married (Lynn), 2 children (Max and Olivia). Lived in Boston, LA and Santa Barbara areas. Had career in type design, typography/publication design, journalism. Taught typography (Otis/Parsons). Other interests: wine, solar system, still proud to be a Democrat… yet worried about the country. We’ve weathered life’s typical adversitites, and I’ve had my share of unwise but well-intentioned decisions. Especially grateful to RISD for advocating high standards in design. Beyond the work I love, that perspective has enriched our lifestyle choices, consumer wisdom and arts enjoyment. I remain quixotic. Now, post-career, I’ve resumed work on a full-color font design conceived in ’81. It was totally blue-sky then. Half my life later, technology may finally be ready for it…. Nice to be developing it beyond the influence of bean-counters and corporate anxieties. A joy to revel in the glorious color and let the design-process feedback guide me to its own best solutions. Lesson? Never give up on your best ideas.

I had a great time making things at Hallmark Cards from ’67–80…. It was an interesting place with over 250 artists…. It was amazing to see how much desire and curiosity had to do with artistic development. My directive for the people who worked for me was to meet other artists and people in production, to make things for themselves and people they love (not just for the company) and to innovate and make themselves portable. December of 1980 I went to Henson Associates, where I worked as the art director for The Muppets, Muppet Babies, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal and Sesame Street until 2000. Jim Henson always took delight in how… to communicate the joy of life and was an advocate for creative freedom.

William Kienzel 67 ID Carpinteria, CA

James Mahon 67 IL Houston, TX


After graduation I moved to San Francisco (like everyone else in those days) and began to practice Zen under Suzuki Shunryu Roshi. I also happened to get a job in a custom furniture shop and got hooked on furniture design and construction. After Suzuki died I moved to Kyoto, Japan to study under other teachers, intending to stay for two or three years. But life is good here and now, 44 years later, [I’m still drawn to the people]. I’ve gotten to know former Kamikaze pilots, Zen masters, temple carpenters, master ceramists and so on…. I find Chinese-style calligraphy to be the deepest, most fascinating and satisfying subject imaginable (after Zen)…. I also have a home in Vermont but wonder when I’ll be able to bring myself to leave here and settle there for good. Most of the great people I’ve known in Japan have died already, but I haven’t and I still enjoy my life here. James Morton 67 SC Kyoto, Japan





RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN Division of Continuing Education

Feedback welcomed at


winter 2018



//  reflections, opinions, points of view


by  Robin F. Williams 06 IL MY PRACTICE FOR TH E LAST FEW YEAR S has really been about experimentation and attempting to merge varying techniques into one piece. This most recent body of work—shown in my fall show Your Good Taste Is Showing at P•P•O•W Gallery in NYC—drew on a lot of 1970s print advertisements. Often I’ll find an advertisement that reminds me of a historical painting, and sometimes it resonates with a more recent image (usually involving a woman’s body). Collapsing those images into a new piece says something about how history informs our current ideas about desire, beauty and art. For me, art is about a sense of meaningful connection. It’s about the day-to-day practice and the satisfaction of always having an idea to turn over in my mind. It’s about that uninterrupted time that is only mine. It’s about the conversations that come out of the work.

I think most artists make things because they want to know what it would be like to see that thing exist in the world. We are very curious people. We want to see how the world will hold the things we make. It’s not enough to just imagine something. It’s like running some kind of experiment. This body of work feels like a real breakthrough for me. I have always wanted to make paintings like these, but I wasn’t ready. I moved to a different studio and met a lot more female artists. I finally felt like I could intelligently and intuitively make these paintings with their support and feedback. I had also become bored with my oil painting practice and knew I needed to start taking more risks technically. I started using an airbrush. I started staining raw canvas and incorporating drawing into my paintings. It made for all of these weird edges and boundaries where marks were always jumping into

“The Harvey Weinsteins, Bill Cosbys and Donald Trumps of the world have to be held accountable by other men and by the culture at large.”

another visual language. I think this spoke to the experience of having a female body and finding oneself in various situations where suddenly the “rules” have changed. The sun goes down or the people in the room swap out, or you age (a day, a year, a decade) and abruptly the acceptability of your sexuality shifts. I wanted to paint about those inexplicable boundaries. I also wanted to paint about the cultural disconnect between female desire (whether professional, personal, sexual) and authority. We don’t make a lot of room for those things to exist together. And I’ve been trying to make work that has a sense of humor even while it addresses dark subject matter. We had a very ambitious woman running for president who was hated for how much she wanted it. As a female painter who wants things—who has desire— I saw this as a problem to be explored in my work.

images courtesy of the artist and P•P•O•W, New York


When the paintings are really working, form and content feed each other. A technique that I’ve discovered in a previous painting will give me an idea for a new painting. Then I’ll discover something new during that process and the cycle will keep going. For me, how I’m painting something is every bit as important as what I’m painting—sometimes more important. In figurative painting, the danger is always making work that’s too literal or didactic. The aesthetic or formal decisions have to complicate or deepen the meaning behind the content. The goal is to make these two things sing together until they feel intrinsically linked. For inspiration I take in everything around me. A million other artists have inspired me, from Manet to the women in my critique group. Reading a lot of Find more of Robin’s work at

(l – r) These paintings from 2017 — Burn (acrylic, airbrush, oil and oil stick on canvas, 50 x 48"), Bottom Feeder (acrylic and oil on canvas, 38 x 50") and Your Good Taste Is Showing (acrylic, airbrush and oil on canvas, 72 x 72") — were included in a fall solo show in NYC.

female authors and scholars has been really inspiring— Linda Nochlin, bell hooks, Virginia Woolf, Elena Ferrante, Rebecca Solnit. With my most recent show, a lot of people asked me to comment on female empowerment. But the idea that women alone can empower themselves is a damaging misconception. In order to survive the unrelenting psychic and physical trauma served up to women from the day we are born, we have to create a narrative for ourselves that preserves our own dignity. Women feel empowered when we are actively empowered by our culture. The Harvey Weinsteins, Bill Cosbys and Donald Trumps of the world have to be held accountable by other men and by the culture at large. It doesn’t matter how much success a woman is able to acquire; if she is being belittled, intimidated, sexually

harassed, assaulted or raped along the way, all she is doing is surviving. Artists shape culture, so in a small way, I can work toward the eventual empowerment of women by simply surviving and making work in the current misogynistic climate. But women can’t do this alone nor should they be expected to serve as magically resilient whipping posts for patriarchal terrorism. When the world stops trying to break us, then we’ll see empowerment. And then some form of healing will be possible for men and women. // RISDXYZ

winter 2018




// look

//  joyous exploration

OWENS’ LIGHTNESS OF BEING Given the artist’s “polymorphous way with motifs and materials”— as New York Times critic Roberta Smith put it — it’s no surprise that the Laura Owens 92 PT survey now at the Whitney is eliciting a giddy joy and excitement among visitors and critics alike. “Distinguished by a sly, comedic beauty, her work has a playful, knowing, almost-Rococo lightness of being in which pleasure, humor, intelligence and a seductive sense of usually high color mingle freely,” writes Smith (who holds an honorary degree from RISD). For more than 20 years, Owens’ bold work has both beguiled and confounded art lovers, pushing against traditional assumptions about figuration and abstraction and toying with the relationships among craft, pop culture and technology. Since it opened in November, the Whitney survey of approximately 60 paintings and installations has drawn a steady stream of curious crowds from around the world. Slated to continue through February 4, it’s the most comprehensive exhibition of her work to date and one accompanied by an unorthodox 663-page catalogue that the artist helped craft.

portrait photo by David Benjamin Sherry 03 PH

Hell-bent on becoming an artist who exhibits at major museums, Owens landed at RISD in the late 1980s and was “happy to be among people who like to make things.” But her experience was mixed, and after graduation she moved on to CalArts for a master’s degree. “Owens was a contrarian at RISD, chafing at male painting teachers who pushed latter-day variants of macho Abstract Expressionism,” writes New Yorker critic Peter Schjeldahl. Clearly a huge fan, he notes that “Owens’ art imparts a sense, from first to last, of being in the middle of a process that doesn’t evolve but that spreads, deltalike, from a mysterious headwater. However strenuous technically, her work is reliably feather-light in feeling, even at architectural scale. ‘Ambitious’ seems both too heavy and too petty a word for her. Her drive seems impersonal: a daemon, which she hosts.” When Schjeldahl posed that notion to Owens, he writes, “It seemed to strike her as over the top.” Instead, she said, “I think about what is required of me.”  //


winter 2018


//////////////////////////////////////////////////// //  liberty and justice for all

Personal Perspective

Walker at a Crossroads When Kara Walker MFA 94 PT/PR exhibited a powerful new body of work at Sikkema Jenkins last fall, Jerry Saltz wrote a piece for Vulture called Kara Walker’s Triumphant New Show Is the Best Art Made About This Country in This Century. Roberta Smith of The New York Times agreed: “Ms. Walker’s desire to stand down from the demands of her particular brand of fame has not made her stand down in her art, which is as disturbing and challenging as ever, if not more so….” 12

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In the press statement Walker released just prior to the opening, she makes the disclaimer that her new work — all made in the explosive months leading up to the September opening — is “not exhaustive, activist or comprehensive in any way.” “Maybe not,” Smith responds in her review. “But the exhibition reveals a crossroads in her great career and she sails right through, from strength to new strength.”

above: photo by Prudence Cumings Associates ©Dan Colen and Victor Mara Ltd.

Growing up in the Bronx (where she now lives again), Cheyenne Julien 16 PT was keenly aware of the racism embedded in the built landscape.  “My dad would often take us to play in the nicer parks of Manhattan,” she remembers — the ones “meant for white children.” On view recently in Homegrown, a fall solo show at Smart Objects in Los Angeles, and at NADA Miami, Julien’s paintings comment on racist stereotyping —  and also attest to her determination to “find the beauty I longed for in the place where I lived.”

AFTERPARTY Though The Guardian once called him a “central figure in a creative, degenerate set” of NYC artists, Dan Colen 01 PT has since toned down his bad-boy lifestyle and kicked a self-destructive addiction. But with Sweet Liberty, his show at Damien Hirst ’s Newport Street Gallery in London, he shows that his work is as audacious and biting as ever. Through January 21 the exhibition space is populated with Colen’s eye-popping paintings and sculptural works from the past 15 years, tracing his career “with a stately pace but rollicking tenor,” as Nate Freeman wrote for ArtNews. One glance at The Big Kahuna (the show-stopper shown above) and it’s clear why it took more than two years to pull off the exhibition. The massive concrete block sitting on an enormous, mangled American flag, its pole bent and twisted, gives the piece immense

weight — both literally and figuratively. Colen thought of it as an emotional self-portrait, following a difficult period in his life — and then waited over a decade to find a gallery that could support its mass. Likewise, the lifelike self-portrait — one of the elements of his 2012-13 installation Livin and Dyin — is also impossible to ignore. A sculpture of Colen stark naked, it’s shown sprawling on the gallery floor, not far from a toppled Kool-Aid man. Wile E. Coyote lies exhausted nearby, and through some installation wizardry, Roger Rabbit appears to have busted through the gallery walls and collapsed on the floor. Taken together, these pop-culture icons are darkly comic — symbols, the gallery says, of “the bloated, spent machismo of the American Dream.” // RISDXYZ

winter 2018


//////////////////////////////////////////////////// //  rethinking reusables

SEA CHANGE It’s a heartbreaking problem: vast quantities of plastic trash circulate in the world’s oceans, polluting the water and endangering marine life. “I want to make people reflect on their use of single-use plastics — make them more aware of their footprint,” says London-based designer Brodie Neill MFA 04 FD. Drop in the Ocean, the designer’s installation at the ME London hotel during London Design Week in September, made the point in a dramatic way. Inspired by the hotel’s soaring, “prism-like” atrium, he conceived an immersive video projection in which “a drop of water triggers an animation of a roaring wave,” he explains. The Flotsam furnishings Neill designed for the atrium punctuate the message. Made from ocean terrazzo, a material he developed that uses plastic harvested from the ocean, the elegant coffee table and bench belie their origins. “Maybe taking something that is quite hideous and making it aesthetically beautiful is one way of bringing attention to the problem.” 14

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When Goo is Good Slimy, green — delicious? Appealing or not, the algae found in ponds is “extremely sustainable” as a food source for humans, says Sean Raspet 03 SC, who is expanding his conceptual exploration of food chemistry and taste into the realm of the eminently edible with

a new product: the fiber-rich Nonbar algae bar. Though the Florida-based artist and his partner Lucy Chinen call their new brand Nonfood, they “want to start a conversation about… what ‘food’ is and what it could be.”  //

eqpd for Life

Going for a Spin Visitors to Call & Response, a fall invitational at Glyndor Gallery in Wave Hill, NY, were greeted in the foyer by four Wanderfolk Whirligigs, one representing each season (this is Spring). Daniel A. Bruce 01 SC constructed the 25" figures from upcycled trash, wood, hardware — and more than a little humor. Whimsy infuses much of his recent work, from a mechanical woodpecker that hammers at Donald Trump’s eye to Gay Americana, his playful look at “gay culture as it relates to folk art.”

In 2014 Jonathan Baker 97 ID founded the softgoods company eqpd in Twisp, WA “to make a product that could be used by the whole human race and [also] solve some real problems.” With their “reusable for a lifetime” LastBag and Built-for-a-Purpose nonprofit partnerships, he and lead designer Sean Donovan 94 IL are placing environmental and social responsibility at the center of the startup’s business plan. “Our ethics,” Donovan says,  “are embedded into what we make.”


winter 2018


//////////////////////////////////////////////////// //  quirky combinations

NARRATIVE THREAD Chuck Stolarek 02 FD was living in England and working as a womenswear developer when his sense of the absurd took his art in a new direction. He began sketching and stitching embroidered “paintings”: quirky combinations of commonplace objects, which read like the setup for a great joke. Working on fabric with a combination of hand and machine embroidery stitches (plus the occasional sequin), Stolarek brings mundane objects together like characters in an illogical story. The pieces provoke smiles and head-scratching in equal measure, 16

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paired as they are with titles such as Ants on a couch in a canoe on sawhorses with radio reception or for this piece, Hose gushing water above a clock on a table. This year he’ll share the series at a solo show-within-ashow at the San Jose [CA] Museum of Quilts and Textiles (February 28 – April 15). Stolarek brings an offbeat sensibility to his womenswear, too. He just launched In House Label, a line of “softly tailored, uniform silhouettes, smothered and covered in just-odd-enough combinations” of over-dyed prints.  //

Looming Darkness “The shapes I use come from the loom, my body, history — from use and reuse,” says Julia Bland 08 PT. “Stories are woven from these fragments.” Things To Say At Night, her fall exhibition at Miller Contemporary in NYC, showcased both her technical ingenuity — an intricate method of marrying weaving and painting — and sense of mysticism. “As apparent clarity falls deeper into shadow, these works seek night as the equal half of day.”

Sparring Matches Form and concept got equal billing in New Information, a two-month solo show that ran through January 6 at Halsey McKay Gallery in East Hampton, NY. In it Sara Greenberger Rafferty 00 PH presented a series of provocative plastic pieces made from photos and words removed from their everyday context. “I’m constantly working against the tension of making a well-crafted, beautiful object that has some kind of mystery about its manufacture,” the Brooklyn-based artist says. Earlier in the year, in her powerful solo show Gloves Off, she explored the realms of comedy, fashion, surveillance and big data at SUNY/New Paltz’s Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art.


winter 2018



//  breaking through

Every artist and designer needs to make breakthroughs to move work forward. But without a simple formula for success, the process takes a mix of chutzpah and humility. The following four features look at how alumni push and stretch to make refreshing new work.


previous spread: photo by Drew Bienemann

When Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta first rented a studio together in 2011, they inadvertently launched an exciting fashion label with a bright future.

by Liisa Silander

STAN D I NG S HOU LD E R TO S HOU LD E R wearing identical satin print shirts and naturally completing each other’s thoughts, Mike Eckhaus 10 SC and Zoe Latta 10 TX returned to RISD for the first time in November. In presenting their work, they also shed light on how an experimental studio practice they started together a year after graduation has mushroomed into something of a fashion industry phenomenon. The two came back to campus to speak at Mindshare, a series of TED-like talks hosted by RISD Careers to help current students and area alumni consider entrepreneurial options. The Eckhaus Latta partners arrived still flushed from a very big year that peaked with the debut of their spring/summer 2018 collection at New York Fashion Week in September. In response to the event they staged in a Bushwick warehouse (around the corner from Honey’s, a bar owned by their RISD friend Arley Marks 10 SC), Vogue noted that “this [is] the buzzy brand’s most coherent and accomplished show yet. The confidence of this outing was augured in its very first look—a wideshouldered men’s suit with a cropped pant…. Not everything the duo sent down the runway was so upscale—there was a ton of casualwear—but there was an overarching sense of polish.” While neither recent grad would likely have cited “polish” as the primary goal of their latest collection—their 12th so far— they know that what Vogue writes about them matters.

They’ve loved working under the radar and outside the mainstream to get Eckhaus Latta off the ground, but they recognize that their shared studio practice is also a growing business. Most importantly, the warm reception from the fashion industry is welcomed acknowledgment of just how much they’ve learned since releasing their first collection in 2011. As the two pointed out in their Mindshare presentation at RISD, neither one had any experience in the world of fashion when they first decided to dip their toes in. Eckhaus had majored in Sculpture at RISD, Latta in Textiles, with a lot of extra time spent in Printmaking studios. “But both of us were really interested in making work for the body,” Latta explains. And both were totally willing to experiment and jump into the deep end as they worked to figure out how to make their way after RISD.


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In their fast-paced talk at RISD, Eckhaus and Latta would each pause at certain moments to underscore specific points for students in the audience: it doesn’t necessarily take a lot of “capital” to start out (if you have ambition and the drive to make something new); you don’t need a fully conceived business or strategic plan (though vision helps); you don’t really even need to know what you’re doing. What you do need is an inspiring creative community and the confidence to try crazy things and see what happens. And RISD, they pointed out, is just the beginning. It’s what happens after with the thinking, making and, most importantly, the connections made here that really matters. “For us there has always been this community of people who we graduated with and who have been integral to the practice,” Eckhaus says. “It’s interesting how the relationships you form now really do carry forward when you leave school and figure out the kind of creative landscape you want to make. Be really mindful of that, especially in the beginning when you’re 22 and no one has any idea what they’re doing and no one has any money and it’s really cool to just work together and figure things out with one another.” Like so many of their peers, both Eckhaus and Latta moved to NYC after graduation (“but you don’t have to,” they teased), trying to figure out next steps to affording a studio and continuing the creative explorations they had started at RISD. Latta set up shop as a print designer and would translate both her own designs and drawings by friends into fabric patterns that she would then try to sell to large companies. The downside? “I quickly learned that in selling intellectual property,” she says, the company is “buying the right to erase your name off” the design and “own your ideas.” For his part, Eckhaus was pleased when his Sculpture portfolio opened the door to new opportunities. “In the kind of fluke experiences that happen after you graduate,” he explains with a grin, “I was able to get a job designing men’s accessories at Marc Jacobs. So that was pretty cool at the time, and I had a crash-course experience in what it was like to work at a large fashion company in New York.”

“It’s interesting how the relationships you form [at RISD] really do carry forward when you leave school...”


// Feeling Fashion

Mike Eckhaus 10 SC + Zoe Latta 10 TX

With day jobs in place, the friends had rented a tiny studio space together in Williamsburg and somewhat on a whim, decided to apply to an international fashion competition, which challenged designers to make one outfit and design eight others. “We did it in 72 hours,” Eckhaus explains, “and then decided to make all nine looks—and have a fashion show.” “We had no idea how to make clothing,” Latta interjects, “or [rather] how to make clothing so someone else can understand it or you can make it again. That’s a very different skill set that we were not trained in.” So while openly admitting “we had no idea what we were doing,” the two went on to talk about how not knowing has driven the development of their partnership every step of the way. “Our friendship kind of started by both of us teaching each other things and learning things together,” they say. And although that first experimental collection of clothing “ended up in a dumpster somewhere in the south of France,” the experience formed the kernel of a big idea that continues to take shape seven years later.

With the introduction of their Spring/Summer 2018 collection (see page 20 and here), Zoe Latta 10 TX and Mike Eckhaus 10 SC

(below) had reason to celebrate. Their show at a warehouse in Bushwick generated well-deserved buzz at September’s New York Fashion Week.


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“The reason we made a collection and started a fashion company instead of having our own practices was because fashion served as this platform for us where we could really do a lot of things,” Latta explains. In addition to allowing for exhibitions, videos and special projects—like an earlier collaboration with Bjarne Melgaard and a recent stint as guest editors of A Magazine Curated By (in which they parodied the typical September issue of a fashion magazine)—part of what they wanted to do is redefine what a fashion brand can be. Whether using their friends as models, staging their runway shows in unusual venues, getting an industry sponsor to screenprint artsy towels for a fun catwalk or creating an Instagram ad campaign showing couples having actual sex, Eckhaus Latta’s unorthodox approach comes naturally. “We’re always playing around with how to activate people in clothing in a manner that’s not necessarily trying to push against the grain,” Eckhaus notes, “but is about marching to the beat of our own drum. That’s something we’ve always been in tune with.” That ongoing desire to follow their own instincts helps the partners not only remain grounded while evolving Eckhaus Latta “in a way that make sense” to them, but has also allowed them to stand out as honest and authentic in an industry

insatiable for the next new thing. Along the way, they transitioned from making all of their clothing themselves to working with manufacturers and hiring employees. They also started an e-shop, which is still going strong and is “a really fun way for us to interact with the people who actually buy the clothing,” they say. Several years ago, when Latta moved to Los Angeles and Eckhaus stayed in NYC, they discovered that maintaining a bicoastal practice works well for them. “The way we work is very collaborative,” she says. “I’ve never talked to another human being as much as I’ve talked to this man but at the same time we both do our own thing and kind of trust each other.” Shortly after the move, Eckhaus Latta opened its first physical store—in LA. “But it wasn’t about us opening a big flagship store,” Latta explains. “We had a studio and a storefront and our friends were coming over and trying things on so we made a space to make that more hospitable.” Friendship and community have in fact always been at the heart of their practice. “It’s really important to consider the people we work with,” Eckhaus told students at the RISD presentation. “It has always been important for us to show a wide range of people in our casting of a show—ages and genders and races and sexualities and whatnot.” By having

“We’re always playing around with how to activate people in clothing in a manner that’s not necessarily trying to push against the grain but is about marching to the beat of our own drum.”


// Feeling Fashion

Mike Eckhaus 10 SC + Zoe Latta 10 TX

Looks from earlier collections — FW16 (far left) and SS17 —  show the evolution of Eckhaus Latta’s work and their interest in mixing up their choice of models. The designers also rely on Erica Sarlo 10 FD to help stage their shows in unexpected places — including outdoors in Seward Park on the Lower East Side.

friends and nonprofessionals wear their clothing and presenting it in unexpected runway settings, Eckhaus Latta brings a true sense of joy and excitement to the release of each new collection. Though they also tap well-known people to walk in their shows—including British musician Dev Hynes (aka Blood Orange), trans actress, activist and writer Hari Nef and I Love Dick actress India Salvor Menuez—they say that “for us, Eckhaus Latta has always been about clothing that makes you feel more like yourself.” The partners have also discovered that “doing this very standard thing in the industry of making pre-collections” isn’t quite as bad a move as they first thought. “In the beginning the idea of making a t-shirt or something really accessible made us want to pull our hair out—like, coming from RISD,” Eckhaus begins. “Like we literally wanted to cry,” Latta continues.

“For us, Eckhaus Latta has always been about clothing that makes you feel more like yourself.”

But after focusing on refining their denim and t-shirt lines in 2016, they see the compromise as totally worth it. “It allowed us to bring employees on board to help with sales and production and administrative tasks, which [in turn] freed up more time for our creative process,” she says. “Now, at the end of the day,” Eckhaus echoes, “we’re like, ‘It’s awesome to make a shirt because it allows us to do all these other things.’ It’s important that you become mindful of that over time,” he reminded students. In figuring out how to balance things enough to free themselves creatively, Eckhaus Latta continues to redefine the meaning of both their own label and the labels all around us. They are, in fact, using fashion as a platform for their practice, exploring questions of age, gender, beauty, differences and exposure, especially in the age of social media. Given the number of sheer pieces in their most recent collection—modeled with little more than skin underneath— Vogue posed this: “Subconsciously or otherwise, the designers do seem to be making a point with their emphasis on exposure, saying something about how it feels as a millennial to shape an identity in full view of the public, whether that figurative nakedness is self-chosen, as in social media, or imposed by corporations or the NSA—which is to say, Eckhaus Latta’s transparent looks may be a stunt, but they’re not a gimmick.” Or as the designers proclaim by way of the printed program at their most recent Bushwick show: “We are here and we have no way to know what tomorrow smells like.”


by Liisa Silander

Always ready to try something new, Brian Selznick rises to the challenge of adapting his novel Wonderstruck as a film—and discovers a lot along the way.

about writing a screenplay before,” says bestselling author and illustrator Brian Selznick 88 IL, who now knows a lot more about what it takes to translate between mediums. But when he threw himself into reimagining one of his own novels for the screen, it wasn’t the first time he had attempted something totally new. A decade ago, Selznick began taking real creative risks in figuring out how to write and illustrate novels for young readers that combine a complex interplay of narrative text and solely visual storytelling. It was in pushing to make The Invention of Hugo Cabret—his first big breakthrough book—that his life as an artist really took off.


After years of willfully resisting an almost inevitable tug towards children’s book illustration—both before and at RISD, where he was most excited by the extracurricular theatrical work he did at Brown—something eventually clicked with Selznick shortly after graduation. A rejection letter from Yale School of Drama dashed his hopes of becoming an actor or set designer, but as he began reconsidering next steps his focus shifted again. “I realized then that I was supposed to be a children’s book illustrator,” Selznick says. Unfortunately, he adds with wry hindsight, he “had just squandered four years of what could arguably have been the best opportunity in the world to learn about children’s books.” Instead, Selznick ended up getting something of a postgrad crash course in the art of children’s books by working at Eeyore’s, the iconic bookstore in Manhattan where he immersed himself in the world of children’s literature and paid keen attention to what customers wanted. Within three years, Knopf published his first book, The Houdini Box, and he began to illustrate picture book biographies written by others. But despite steady work throughout the 1990s and early 2000s—along with winning a Caldecott Honor in 2002 for his work on The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins (2001) by Barbara Kerley—Selznick felt itchy and dissatisfied with where he was headed. When legendary children’s book illustrator Maurice Sendak offered the very simple advice to “make the book you want to make,” he really heard it, as if for the first time.

The book Selznick had been toying with making at the time was a work of historical fiction focused on Georges Méliès, a pioneer of French film—not something most kids would likely be dying to read. But as he puzzled through how best to tell the story, he hit on a format that proved groundbreaking for both his own career and the publishing industry as well. Told half in pictures and half in words, The Invention of Hugo Cabret earned Selznick the 2008 Caldecott Medal and became a #1 New York Times bestseller. Three years later Martin Scorsese directed a film version of it—called simply Hugo—that earned a number of Academy Award nominations. That same fall—in 2011—Selznick released his second novel for young readers in a similar format, with one story (about an orphaned boy in the 1970s) told entirely with words and another (about a deaf girl living in the 1920s) with pictures. Called Wonderstruck, the 637-page tome proved to be another bestseller, moving readers back and forth between the two tales of personal quests that eventually come together at the end. Selznick had loved being involved with Scorsese’s retelling of Hugo, but had ceded the screenwriting to Tony Awardwinning playwright and screenwriter John Logan. Serving as a consultant to the project, he had spent plenty of time on set and had become friends with a number of people who worked on the film, including multiple Academy Award-winning costume designer Sandy Powell. It was she who first planted the idea that Selznick adapt Wonderstruck for the screen and try to entice Todd Haynes— known as a pioneer of the new queer cinema movement in

“We would think we’re watching it in silence because it’s 1927 but… we’re actually watching it the way the main character in that story experiences the world because she’s deaf.”


// Shifting Focus

Brian Selznick 88 IL

Costume designer Sandy Powell (far left) first suggested to Selznick (shown in the background) that he write his own screenplay for Wonderstruck and try to get Todd Haynes (standing to the left of the camera man) to direct it. Director of Photography Ed Lachman (above) on the set at the Queens Museum’s panorama of NYC, which Selznick originally drew for several scenes in his book.

the 1990s and for such recent Oscar-nominated films as Carol (2015)—to direct it. “I was thrilled by the idea,” Selznick says. “I’ve been a fan of his since his first movie Poison, in 1991, and I’ve followed—and loved—Todd’s work ever since.” The only hitch was that Selznick knew nothing about writing for the screen. So he reached out to Logan for help and soon got enough guidance to begin writing the screenplay for Wonderstruck at night while working on his next book,  The Marvels, during the day. Not surprisingly, the biggest challenge had to do with “figuring out how to find a cinematic equivalent” of his novel, Selznick explains. In other words, he needed to rethink a complex story he had initially told through an evocative but static mix of 2D illustrations and narrative text as something that’s brought to life through actors, dialogue, sound, movement, lighting, props, special effects and all the other wonders of filmmaking.


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As lead character fabricator, Hayley Morris 08 FAV (who runs a studio called Shape & Shadow) worked magic for a scene at the end of the movie. With the help of intern Anthony Galante 15 FAV, she and her team created 19 miniature sets and more than 300 mini characters each in the range of five to six inches tall.

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// Shifting Focus

Brian Selznick 88 IL

“When a movie gets made—especially by people like Martin Scorsese or Todd Haynes, who are so visual— they use my drawings… almost like storyboards.”

left: photos by Mary Cybulski, courtesy of Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions

In the book, the story that unfolds in pictures is told from the point of view of a deaf girl named Rose living in 1927. “That’s at the end of the silent movie era,” Selznick says. “So I thought I could tell the story of Rose as a black-and-white silent movie. We would think we’re watching it in silence because it’s 1927 but it would be revealed that we’re actually watching it the way the main character in that story experiences the world because she’s deaf. So we see the world the way she does. We hear the world the way she does.” As he began to think more like a filmmaker, Selznick envisioned the other story—about a deaf boy named Ben in 1977—as “a ’70s movie, in full color, perhaps starting out like the landscapes of Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller and then becoming something like Scorsese’s 1973 movie Mean Streets, except for kids, once Ben arrives in New York for the first time. These two styles of filmmaking would contrast nicely with each other, and I could weave them back and forth just like in the book.” One piece of advice from Logan that Selznick really took to heart—and that echoes what Sendak told him about writing kids’ books—was to “just write [the screenplay] the way you want to write it before you show it to anybody else”—including potential directors and producers. Much as with Hugo Cabret, the approach paid off. Once Haynes read the screenplay, he recognized in the lead characters the outsider qualities he gravitates towards in his films.

Millicent Simmonds,

a 14-year-old first-time actress, stands out for her remarkable portrayal of the deaf girl Rose. Deaf herself, she relied on the assistance of a sign language interpreter on set.

Though Selznick was excited when Haynes agreed to direct the film, the two still had plenty of work to do to refine the screenplay together. He also realized that after essentially working alone to create the story—first as a novel and then as a screenplay—he now needed to shift to a more collaborative approach. He needed to let go and allow the story to take on new life in the capable hands of a director, cast, crew, costume designer, production designer, cinematographer, lighting designer and the scores of other people who work behind the scenes to bring a film like this to fruition (including animator Hayley Morris 08 FAV, who created a wonderful world of more than 300 miniature character models for the closing sequence of the movie). “Even though I made up the story, I would say that the movie truly belongs to the director,” Selznick tells his young fans in the Wonderstruck Movie Scrapbook Scholastic published in conjunction with the film’s release. It’s his job “to bring everything in the screenplay to life.” After immersing himself in the multi-year process of making the movie, Selznick is buoyed by the entire experience. Wonderstruck got a great response when it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in May, earned a thunderous ovation at its US premier at the New York Film Festival in October and

is resonating with audiences since opening at theaters across the country in November. Featuring a strong cast including Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams, it largely rides on the small but capable shoulders of child actors Millicent Simmonds, the 14-year-old deaf girl who plays Rose, and Oakes Fegley, a hearing boy who plays Ben. Selznick recognizes that by opening himself up to the challenge of trying something new and taking professional risks he has not only grown creatively but has met and collaborated with amazing people and deepened his understanding of everything from filmmaking as an art form to the beauty of Deaf* culture. “In the book, my drawings are meant to be the end-all and be-all of the story,” he says. “They are not meant to be a step in the process. But then when a movie gets made—especially by people like Martin Scorsese or Todd Haynes, who are so visual—they use my drawings the way someone might use any kind of visual inspiration. “So they both used my drawings almost like storyboards. They both shot scenes directly from what my drawings were doing. And so what I see on screen is an echo of my drawing. I can see the composition very clearly.”

* Members of the American Sign Language community prefer to capitalize the D in Deaf.


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Mutable Approach to Joe Bradley has learned that showing up faithfully—and sometimes just switching tools—can lead to unexpected breakthroughs. of sustained practice Joe Bradley 99 PT has shown himself to be anything but predictable in the studio. “Even dedicated fans of his work have inevitably faltered at one or another of his forking paths over the past 20 years,” notes Cathleen Chaffee, chief curator at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY. “Bradley… shifts gears without pause: from starkly minimalist to gestural abstract paintings, from discomfiting assemblage sculptures to boldly graphic silkscreens and from jagged, sometimes comic drawings to obdurate geometric sculptures.” A large-scale survey exhibition of Bradley’s work—organized by and first shown at the Albright-Knox and now on view through January 28 at the Rose Art Museum in Waltham, MA—offers an opportunity to see the “conceptual connective tissue” behind his divergent approaches. “I think that time moves slower in painting,” the artist says by way of explanation. “And maybe that accounts for a lot of the anxiety around painting in the last 40 or 50 years. You have… everything moving at this breakneck speed [but] painting is still walking. It’s just a very human activity that takes time.”


// Mutable Approach to Making

Joe Bradley 99 PT

all images ©Joe Bradley • photography by Rob McKeever, courtesy of Gagosian



The following exchange between Bradley and fellow artist Carroll Dunham is excerpted from a longer conversation published in the exhibition catalogue. It sheds light on the interesting breakthroughs—some minor, others major— that keep artists coming back to the studio day in and day out.

• • • • • CAR ROLL So when you went to [RISD],…do you remember what started to grab you about painting? Were there particular teachers or artists who caused that? JOE Well, when I got to RISD I found that I just really enjoyed looking at painting, thinking about painting. And I hadn’t absorbed that much in the way of art history, so there were a couple of years there when it was like a feast, just getting to discover the whole thing.

Historical things? Yes. I spent a lot of time at the library. I was really into underground comics at the time— the ’60s stuff, R. Crumb and the Zap guys. So I gravitated toward Pop art. Claes Oldenburg, Peter Saul, the Hairy Who…. There’s a clear bridge. Yeah, it’s not much of a stretch.

Kind of. I was making these sort of goofy, cartoony, quasi-abstract paintings. Funny shapes. Then around junior year I had what felt like a breakthrough, at least at the time: I started painting landscapes. I had no real interest in landscape as subject matter, so there was a kind of remove—a distance between the work and me. There was something empowering in that. I remember painting this harbor scene, sort of in the style of Thomas Kinkade, and it really felt like “Art.” Can you remember what was driving that? I was frustrated. I felt hemmed in by my own personality. At this time in my life I was playing around with identity… so introducing a sort of role-playing was exciting.

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// Mutable Approach to Making

Joe Bradley 99 PT

all images ©Joe Bradley • photography by Rob McKeever, courtesy of Gagosian

Were you making work when you were at RISD that was under the influence of the Hairy Who?

opening spread: Untitled (2006–07, gouache on paper, 11 x 8 ½") and The Fisherman’s Friend (2006, acrylic on canvas in four parts, 105 ½ x 36" overall) left: Canton Rose (2016, oil on canvas, 86 x 96") and Maag Areal (2015, oil on canvas, 94 x 78") right: untitled works shown in 23 Skidoo, a 2014 show at Karma in Amangansett, NY

When you finally got out of your art-school head and got into your grown-up-artist head did you start to feel [part of an arts] community here in New York? Well, it was good to have friends—to find likeminded people. None of us was working too hard at that point, so it was easygoing. It wasn’t competitive. Having a place to exhibit really ups the ante. Seeing your work outside of the studio, in a public place—the problems become pronounced. You see where you fell short and then you clean things up the next time around. I think some people get really crushed by that, and other people find it very energizing. Obviously you weren’t crushed by it. I enjoy it, for the most part. My first couple of shows got no response at all. Meaning no one wrote about them? No one wrote about them. Nothing sold. That was, you know—demoralizing.

Pretty much the artist’s life. One let-down after another. Exactly. As we now know, that’s pretty much how it goes. [Making art is] a peculiar form of communication. You make these things alone in a room, then leave them alone in another room. It’s difficult to know whether you are connecting or not…. I think artists find who they are through community, really. It’s something I wonder a lot about with the change that so-called social media has brought. It’s easy to think you’re having contact with people and things when you’re not, really. Can the same kind of things happen? I wonder. I find the social media phenomenon totally alienating. There’s something manic about it. In the end, there is no substitute for being in the same room with another human being. Or for visiting a friend’s studio and just hashing it out. I don’t think social media can provide that kind of intimacy.

“So changing tools— working with a brush on stretched canvas—was a way of pressing reset.”

When you were working with CANADA gallery and beginning to have exhibitions, do you remember a point when you sort of felt like, “I’m really an artist now”? Was there ever a feeling of a phase shift? The first show I had with CANADA, Kurgan Waves, felt “real” in the sense that people outside of my circle of friends saw it and responded to it. It was written about. I quit my day job.


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You seem to be in a phase where you really kind of know what you’re meant to be doing and you’re establishing quite a large territory for it. Does it feel like that? On a good day, yes. I do feel a momentum in my work. One thing leads to another, paintings suggest more paintings. They have to feel a certain way in order to work for you? I want them to feel like they have always been there, if you know what I mean.

Yeah, I am attempting a more “proactive” approach. Part of it is just practical. I was getting tired of crawling around on my hands and knees all day. I had a sense that I was hitting a wall with that body of work—that I was relying too heavily on accident. So changing tools—working with a brush on stretched canvas—was a way of pressing reset. When I started making these paintings, I knew I wanted to work on stretched canvas and I knew I wanted to use a brush. I wanted large passages of color that extended to the edge of the painting. I wanted the painting to project into the room in a more assertive manner… all of these formal things. But I didn’t know what they would look like until I painted them. As for the scruffy quality [you mentioned earlier], I do like the surface to feel fucked up. It’s like a kink. There’s a part of me that wishes I could just make beautiful paintings like Brice Marden or something… but I’m kind of an asshole and that should be addressed—or at least acknowledged—in the work.

“There’s a part of me that wishes I could just make beautiful paintings… but I’m kind of an asshole and that should be addressed— or at least acknowledged—in the work.”  3 6

// Mutable Approach to Making

Joe Bradley 99 PT

all images ©Joe Bradley • photography by Rob McKeever, courtesy of Gagosian

The first time I came to your studio you had all these canvases—very large things—spread over the floor and I had an image of you walking around in your stocking feet dropping material onto large areas…. Now, there are a lot of stretched canvases on the wall, taking up vertical pictorial space, like paintings. To me, it’s like you’re owning the fact that these things exist as paintings and that you’re working on them this way all the way through.

left: Bradley’s Brooklyn studio and East Coker (2013, oil on canvas, 100 x 102") right: Despair (2017, bronze, 13 ½ x 9 x 10 ½") and Untitled (2016, charcoal on paper, 24 x 23")

“I take issue with the notion that I am ‘expressing’ myself at all…. I’m more comfortable with the idea that I’m channeling—or facilitating—in some way.” The thing that I find so interesting about what you’re up to is that I don’t think you’re illustrating a position. I think you’re finding it by doing it…. Your approach to me seems…. about actually participating in what has to happen in order to even have anything to say about it…. Right. That’s what makes an interview like this difficult. Or getting up and speaking in front of students or something. I’m not sure I have anything to say. I can kind of talk around it. Well, we’re living through a period of time when there is… an expectation that all of this can be translated into verbiage that would actually “explain” what you’re doing. Mostly what we’ve been talking about here is what it feels like to

be an artist, how things get made, the fact that you have to show up every day in order to see a result. That’s very different from having ideas and then illustrating them. I take issue with the notion that I am “expressing” myself at all. At least it doesn’t feel like that’s what’s happening. I’m more comfortable with the idea that I’m channeling—or facilitating— in some way. I think there is a big change—a big development in your paintings within the last five years even though descriptively the parameters haven’t changed that much. But whatever it is, you’re homing in on it. I think it’s very difficult to put the content of paintings like yours into language. Maybe you are just an asshole who likes to schmear paint around….

I just play one on TV. No, but how would you know? I mean, you wouldn’t know what your work was if you didn’t make these. It’s mysterious—a life in art. It’s a double life— or a decoy life, if you know what I mean. We can play out impulses in the studio that are considered unacceptable in “real” life. There’s a great Flaubert quote: “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you can be violent and original in your work.” I think that is sound advice.


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by Liisa Silander

Julie Mehretu’s monumental new paintings capture the complexities of American history and culture. PE RCH E D D I Z ZYI NG LY H IG H U P , working day in and day out in a cavernous church in Harlem, Julie Mehretu MFA 97 PT/PR pushed hard for more than a year to make the largest and most ambitious work of her career—literally and figuratively stretching despite feeling sapped and demoralized by the political chaos in the US. It’s a good reminder that even for a MacArthur Award winner—and maybe especially so for one who earned the coveted “genius award” well over a decade ago, when she was just 34—achieving breakthroughs takes work. “It was really just me, by myself, for months,” Mehretu said in Architectural Digest, speaking about the process of working on a pair of 27- x 32-foot paintings commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). In the fall of 2016—prior to the US presidential election—she says she felt distracted and on edge, unable to focus on the commission that desperately needed her attention. “I was in here all of October trying to figure out what to do,” she explains— “hours just staring at the canvases, then getting bored.” But shortly after the shock of Trump’s win, which essentially left her curled up in bed for a couple of days, her paralysis finally broke.

“I was trying to find myself in the paintings, but I was also getting lost in them.”

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// Stretching

Julie Mehretu MFA 97 PT/PR

When she began to work again just after the presidential election, Mehretu used her signature sumi ink to start drawing into an abstract base layer she had created for the diptych. Months earlier, working in Photoshop, she had merged majestic 19th-century landscapes by Hudson River School painters with blurred news images of 2016 street protests in the wake of fatal shootings of black men. These composites were inkjet-printed onto the bare canvases, then stretched on the walls of the unused church she rented for the year and encased in 20 layers of clear acrylic to create a hard surface. “Eighty percent of the marks I put down I wipe or sand away,” Mehretu says in explaining why she builds up the surface so much. As the year unfolded, she also silkscreened hundreds of details from the computer composites across the surface, often enlarged into patterns of colored, pixelated squares. The result is a richly layered contemplation of American “progress” over the past 150 years. Created as part of SFMOMA’s new art commissioning program, the pair of canvases flanks the main staircase in the soaring Haas, Jr. Atrium, where the work is freely accessible to the public prior to actually entering the museum. The size of the diptcyh is of “a historic scale… not typical of the work previous spread and facing page far right: photos by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc., courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery ©Julie Mehretu | left: photo by Jason Schmidt for Architectural Digest

“I was trying to find myself in the paintings, but I was also getting lost in them,” Mehretu admits. “Everything feels so lost right now—at least for me—since the election. That ­feeling of being displaced and not having a real language for how to deal with any of this stuff has also been a big part of the work.” Called HOWL, eon (I, II), the diptych made its public debut at SFMOMA last September, presenting an abstract interpretation of “the competing impulses of annihilation and preservation at the heart of 19th-century westward expansion,” as the museum puts it. Mehretu herself calls the work her “most American paintings” to date, adding that when she first visited the San Francisco museum to scope out the project, the two vast white walls in the atrium prompted her to think about the glowing American landscape paintings that commemorated the ideal of westward expansion in the mid 19th century. Despite the romanticism of the imagery, “this was a landscape of horror,” notes the artist, a gay woman of color born in Ethiopia and deeply invested in the ongoing struggle for equity and inclusion in the US. “I was attracted to these landscape paintings that were trying to describe a really intense moment historically—of what this country was becoming, on all these different levels.”

top left: photo by Matthew Millman Photography, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, promised gift of Helen and Charles Schwab ©Julie Mehretu

“The most ­interesting work confounds, confuses and creates headaches.”

Commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Mehretu’s 2017 diptych HOWL, eon (I, II) makes for a stunning entryway into the museum.

of our own time,” notes Gary Garrels, senior curator of painting and sculpture. SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra adds that while he can think of plenty of male artists—from Michelangelo to Diego Rivera—he’s “hard-pressed to think of another woman painter working at this scale in a public place.” “This scale is no joke,” Mehretu concedes. Though she often works large—on canvases in the realm of 9 x 12 or 12 x 24 feet— a 2009 commission for Goldman Sachs in which she created a 23- x 80-foot “global map” called Mural was her first foray into the epic scale of work that makes it into history books. “It’s exhilarating when you make a mark that crosses 10 or 12 feet and get it right,” she explains. Though Mehretu usually listens to political podcasts while ­working, for this project jazz musician Jason Moran ­often showed up in the church, providing live accompaniment as he composed a piece inspired by the paintings. Since her own process is as improvisational as jazz, the collaboration felt natural. “I think you hear [the paintings],” Mehretu says of her finished work, which involved plenty of starts and stops, staccato movements of making and erasing marks as she kept pushing past failure.

“I want these to be ­paintings that I keep coming back to,” the artist says. “I don’t want to be ­disappointed in them in five years.” And whether or not viewers “can d ­ ecipher a political intention” behind the dense abstractions, she says “the most ­interesting work confounds, confuses and creates headaches.” For his part, Garrels is excited about Mehretu’s return to the rich palette of her work from the early 2000s. “There are portions of the paintings that feel almost like a rainbow has drifted in and dissipated across the surface,” he says. The work is “dark and moody and full of tumult, but those beautiful colors really glow.”  Now that her own HOWL has emerged 62 years after Allen Ginsberg’s, Mehretu is feeling energized by creative momentum. “I couldn’t have made these 10 or 15 years ago,” she told The New York Times. “But I feel much freer in my approach to painting right now. I’m excited about being open to intuition and influence, trying to keep pushing without falling on my face—or maybe allowing myself to fall on my face.”


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//  a message from the president


nervousness—before an exhibition opening knowing that the new work I was about to show differed vastly from what I had shown successfully in the past. Would the breakthroughs that I was most excited about— those “ahas” between empty ideas and newly rendered works—make sense to anyone else? That mattered because for me the creation of work always teetered between two planes of intent: one that deeply explored a curious state of personal unknowing and subsequent discovery, and another that insisted on work as a catalyst, connecting to a potential dialogue with different viewers.


Much contemporary art takes a different position vis-à-vis the role of the viewer in the creation of work. For me, though, in part because my work was about making unique objects that people would live with and use, I wanted to impact the quality of experience for others, and perhaps challenge their preconceptions. So would my discoveries instigate discoveries of their own? Artists share an addiction to the rush of creation— the ability to bring something to life through their practice, something that has never existed in quite the same way before. Part of that sensational desire is about directly living those breakthrough moments, the rare times when everything aligns almost as if the work is creating itself. All of the lessons of reinvention strip away curtained assumptions and make openended space for new, important discovery. At these rare moments it is as if a harmonious soundtrack plays in silent accompaniment. Sometimes that rush is so strong that one forgets to breathe. Time takes on a different dimension. These moments are usually preceded by hours of diligent work (it’s called artistic “practice” because it takes sustained repetition). They rely on a commitment to not stopping at a safe point, but rather pushing beyond to the unfamiliar and unknown. The lessons that taught me how to break through my own thresholds were solidly strengthened in my foundation year at

“Artists share an addiction to the rush of creation— the ability to bring something to life… that has never existed in quite the same way before.” RISD. Though ingrained so long ago, these transformational ways of thinking and making—of setting and then exceeding expectations— still shape my foundational process as an artist, designer, citizen and president. Today, one of the most urgent callings of contemporary practice is to create new definitions and long-needed parity for entire categories of under-representation in creative realms. RISD students

Find ongoing stories about students, faculty and alumni making breakthroughs in their own work at Use the search icon in the top right of the page to find the following stories by title:

Paradoxes of Place Through his emerging fine art practice, recent Landscape Architecture graduate Senbo Yang MLA 16 (above) is focusing on the effects of displacement among 21st-century nomads.

Finch Focuses on Perception In a recent visit to RISD, thriving multidisciplinary artist Spencer Finch MFA 89 SC shares his unique, experiential approach to making art.

Building a Cohesive Body of Work Senior Zenzele Ojore 18 PH (below) returns from travels to Patagonia and a summer internship in Uganda with surprising new insights about her own identity as a black American artist.

and alumni are expanding the understanding of what drives artists who have different access to resources; to histories that do or do not resonate with who they are; to rights and expectations. From that perspective it’s clear how different the definition of risk-taking and subsequent breakthroughs becomes. Our alumni are reshaping the experience of art and design, the terms of engaging with systems and services, and the actual aesthetic and defining frames of contemporary culture(s). Because artists create both reflective Follow the president on

expressions and curated experiences, they see themselves and define their own identity through the same work that is simultaneously making an impact on viewers, users or audiences. Since these creative discoveries are often made in advance of the rest of the population, artists set the foundation for others to have their own breakthroughs of emotion, understanding and experience. With bold creative breakthroughs, artists and designers produce work that drives humanity forward in ways that newly define where we can go. I am continually inspired by the long reach of RISD creativity, and the emerging multiplicity of voices pushing boundaries aside. As we shape a future that benefits from our transformative creative works, we are all the better as a result. —Rosanne Somerson 76 ID

Forbes Salutes Young Alums Four alumni are recognized in the magazine’s 2018 30 Under 30 list of promising young artists and designers to watch.

Fulbrights Foster Discovery Architects Abigail Stoner BArch 15 and Michael Jacobs MArch 14 are studying in Berlin and Serbia, respectively, while Kim Dupont-Madinier BArch 15 is researching yurts in Mongolia and Heather McLeod 16 IL is pursuing puppeteering in Italy. // RISDXYZ

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two college street

//  campus community newsbits

New Cross-disciplinary Concentrations Undergraduate students are now opting in to two new concentrations that allow for more interdisciplinary approaches to learning. Both Computation, Technology and Culture (CTC) and Drawing offer focused study outside of studio majors and are housed in Experimental and Foundation Studies (the division formerly known as Freshman Foundation and later, Foundation Studies). “We’re expanding the idea of what drawing is,” explains Concentration Coordinator Masha Ryskin 95 PR . “We want illustrators to work alongside designers and Glass majors so that they can make the dialogue richer.” In the new CTC concentration, the idea is for “students to resist using technology the way creators think they’re supposed to use it,” notes Assistant Professor Shawn Greenlee 96 PR , who helped spearhead efforts to launch it. Students learn to write code, develop software and build programmable machines while also coming to better understand how digital technology is transforming art, design and the world at large.

TIMELY PROGRAMS ADDRESS NEW NEEDS In the barrage of our 24-hour news cycle, ongoing cultural tensions and ecological problems break through the noise with ever greater urgency. From the rise of nationalist movements worldwide to the alarming frequency of mega-storms and other natural disasters, these events call for new ways of thinking, reflecting and problem solving.

“We all want to buoy students and help give their research the speed and energy this moment needs.”

Incoming graduate students in GAC and NCSS will form “a community of conversationalists” whose intellectual interests closely align with students in studio majors, says Professor Nicole Merola, who leads the NCSS grad program. “This is a new way of preparing students to take on urgent issues [and] to visualize cultural practices as they evolve in the future,” she explains. Like the NCSS grad program, GAC underscores the importance of working across several fields to create rigorous scholarship that can also reach a wide variety of audiences. “The program encourages students to adopt global ways of thinking,” says GAC Graduate

Associate Professor Eric Anderson

RISD’s first-ever graduate programs in Liberal Arts are designed to address these issues critically. Two new 1.5-year Master of Arts programs—in Global Arts and Cultures (GAC) and Nature– Culture–Sustainability Studies (NCSS)—will begin this fall. Find out more about both new MA programs at

Program Director and Associate Professor Eric Anderson, an art historian whose own approach to his field has expanded since he began teaching at RISD. For faculty, the new GAC and NCSS programs offer welcomed opportunities to share RISD’s transdisciplinary approach to the liberal arts with emerging scholars who are eager to make a positive impact on these critical issues. “Our excitement about these programs is very genuine,” says Anderson. “We all want to buoy students and help give their research the speed and energy this moment needs.” // RISDXYZ

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ARTISTS CHANGE THE CONVERSATION New Yorker critic Hilton Als—who earned an honorary degree from RISD in 2016—returned to campus on October 26 to deliver the RISD Museum’s 2017 Gail Silver Memorial Lecture. In his melodious voice, he read from his essays, including a short piece inspired by the recent spate of sexual misconduct allegations in the news. Noting a longstanding complicity in American society for “ignoring what should not be ignored,” he said: “This is America, where we like to forget, but don’t.” Als pointed out that our collective silences—in response to everything from the AIDS epidemic to queer-bashing to systemic racism—are ultimately challenged by artists, who dare to change the discourse.

FOCUS ON WORK + JOY When she revisited RISD last September, iconic author and punk rocker Patti Smith offered a mix of wit, wisdom and boundless inspiration during a sweltering, sold-out reading in the RISD Auditorium. In addition to reading from her National Book Award-winning memoir Just Kids (2010), she read from her newest book Devotion (2017), in which she reflects on her lifelong passion for the written word.

“It’s OK—no, it’s essential— to be happy in this troubled world.” Prior to her public talk, Smith met with a small group of student writers, offering candid and well-considered advice about developing a sustainable artistic practice and remaining true to yourself. When one student asked for general advice, Smith responded: “Take care of yourself, drink a lot of water and focus on your work. And don’t be afraid to feel joy. It’s OK—no, it’s essential—to be happy in this troubled world.” 46

// two college street

Students Feel Rocky Horror Students screamed with pleasure as Dr. Frank N. Furter (played by Roscoe Bernard 20 FAV ) stepped into the Tap Room perfectly in sync with his character in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, projected on the wall behind him. As he whipped off his black cloak to reveal a lot of skin underneath, the packed house howled again. The Rocky Horror Shadow Cast has become an annual favorite ever since RISD

Exhibitionists, the student drama club, began staging it every fall. “I’m a senior now and I’ve been a part of Rocky Horror for three years,” says Exhibitionist President Maxwell McInnis 18 FD, who directed and played the criminologist in this year’s show. “It’s really fun to be with people who aren’t in your major and to make inexpensive, low-brow garbage that people just love.”

top: photos by Riley McClenaghan 20 FAV


Graphic novels and comic books provide artists with “a space for creating ideas” of real value, notes Thomas Doran, an assistant professor-in-residence in Literary Arts and Studies. This notion is the basis for Visualizing the Environment in Comics and Graphic Literature, a new LAS course he designed and taught in the fall (with a reprise in the spring). From the gothic horror of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing to the environmental journalism of Lauren Redniss, the course covers a diversity of genres and perspectives on climate, weather, animal rights and other topics, shedding light on ecological problems as not just political or technological but also cultural.

Doran, whose longtime interest in comics has become increasingly central to his research and teaching, says that the diverse expertise of RISD students (who clearly “aren’t afraid to draw”) has inspired him to build more experimental assignments into the curriculum. In addition to traditional research papers, participants in Visualizing the Environment also create sequential-art “essays” that address both environmental issues and the critical discourses surrounding them. “Students are using the medium,” says Doran, “to interrogate these current—and dire—problems at a deep level.”

Find more stories about what’s going on with students and faculty at


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Wonder of Glass Wonder: 50 Years RISD Glass, a truly wonderful new book that recognizes the significance of RISD’s program and artists in shaping the world of contemporary glass, made its official debut in the fall, with a launch party at the Cooper Hewitt in NYC. Proceeds from sales of the book, which was edited by Professor and Department Head Rachel Berwick 84 GL , Associate Professor Jocelyne Prince MFA 94 GL and Denise Markonish (a curator at MASS MoCA), support scholarship and research funds for the Glass department. Order it and learn more at .

Precision Conversation, a solo show of work by Noam Elyashiv MFA 94 JM , is on view through January 10 at Galerie Marzee in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. A senior critic in Jewelry + Metalsmithing, she’s known for translating the precision and linear quality of her drawings into finely crafted metalwork, as in Grid Ring (2017, silver, 25 x 25 x 16 mm) and Which Way? (2017, brooch, recycled silver, brass,
 94 x 50 x 6 mm).

RESHUFFLE OF ACADEMIC ROLES Four longtime RISD educators have been promoted to new leadership positions. Former Dean of Liberal Arts Dan Cavicchi, who began teaching at RISD in 1996, is now associate provost of Research | Global | Practice, a newly created position in which he oversees the divisions and departments of Continuing Education, Executive Education, RISD Global, Partnered Projects and RISD Careers, working collaboratively with existing staff to develop interdepartmental synergies and strategic, cross-disciplinary plans. Appointed as Cavicchi’s replacement, Professor Damian White is now dean of Liberal Arts. A sociolo48

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gist and political theorist, he served as head of the History, Philosophy + the Social Sciences department from 2012–16 and helped launch a new interdisciplinary concentration in Nature–Culture–Sustainability Studies in 2012. Associate Professor Jennifer PrewittFreilino took over as HPSS department head in 2016. Professor of Landscape Architecture Scheri Fultineer, who had led the Landscape Architecture department since 2011, is now dean of Architecture + Design. With her promotion, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture Emily Vogler is now the new head of the graduate-level department.

And longtime Illustration professor and former Department Head Robert Brinkerhoff is now serving as dean of Fine Arts. Together with longtime Dean of Experimental and Foundation Studies Joanne Stryker and Interim Provost Tracie Costantino, the new leaders are ensuring that RISD’s 23 studio and liberal arts departments continue to run smoothly.

Life’s Work A gorgeous new monograph featuring the work of Professor Emeritus John Udvardy, who taught at RISD for 34 years before retiring in 2009, has surfaced after five years in production. Designed by Malcolm Grear Designers, the 208-page hardcover includes essays, commentary and poetry along with 450 images of the artist’s work. Among the essays is one by Professor Thomas Lyon Mills, a longtime fellow faculty member in Experimental and Foundation Studies who remembers when his friend led the division. Udvardy still works in his studio in Warren, RI and is represented by Cade Tompkins in Providence.


MOVING FABRIC FORWARD Two years after Associate Professor of Textiles Brooks Hagan MFA 02 TX and Cornell Professor of Computer Science Steve Marschner first earned major research support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), they released their first product in September—with additional support from a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant. Weft enables independent designers to get accurate, affordable fabric samples delivered directly to their doorstep—quickly.

Anyone interested in fabric design can try it out at

Weft’s online digital loom “invites users to choose the quality, color and weaves of the fabric they’re designing and set the size of the repeat, which allows for quick iterations,” Hagan explains. Users can upload their own designs or photographs or customize a variety of designs available on the site. A true collaborative effort, the project has involved a number of RISD people, including Jason Huff MFA 11 DM, Andrew LeClair MFA 12 GD, Katey Crews MFA 12 TX, Jerel Johnson MFA 14 GD, Nick Penney MFA 14 DM and Catherine (Cieslewicz) Duffy MFA 13 GD, who designed the Weft logo. Among the “first-gen” products are fabrics designed by Associate Professor of Graphic Design John Caserta, adjunct faculty member in Glass Stefanie Pender MFA 09 GL and Associate Professor of Painting Kevin Zucker 00 PT. “In choosing artists to collaborate with we opted for people working in a variety of fields,” Hagan explains, “to demonstrate that creative people from many backgrounds can effectively use the software.” The inexpensive, completely custom fabrics now available are just the start. As part of the second phase of product development, users will be able to customupholster 3D objects like pillows and chairs using online renderings that show exactly how each object will look clad in its designed-to-order fabric.

“Teaching is a real passion of mine,” says Amy Kulper, newly appointed head of RISD’s Architecture department. In her former role as an associate professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan, she earned the Donna M. Salzer Award for Teaching Excellence— not once but four times. Kulper’s highly conceptual work explores the intersections of history, theory and design. In addition to her own practice, she serves as design editor for the Journal of Architectural Education and is on Architecture and Culture’s editorial advisory board. Kulper is looking forward to building on successful initiatives at RISD, including the new 4+2 program with Brown University in which students who earn a BA in Architecture at Brown can continue on for a two-year MArch degree at RISD. “I feel incredibly lucky and grateful for this opportunity,” she says. “I hope the differences at RISD will encourage me to think and teach differently, and I’m looking forward to capitalizing on that sense of renewed curiosity.” // RISDXYZ

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Kirloskar Visiting Scholar In November artist Pallavi Paul, whose video and installation work focuses on resistance, politics and history amidst the chaos of contemporary life, visited RISD — and the US for the first time —  as the 2017/18 Vikram and Geetanjali Kirloskar Visiting Scholar in Painting.

Professor Dennis Congdon 75 PT (left) hosted the visit, which included a film screening, studio visits and a talk open to the entire community. At the end, audience members participated in a group “reading” of a scroll that had them voicing Morse code to create a kind of choral chant.


“I’ve realized how valuable it is to take time to explore,” says Zoë Bax 18 IA, speaking of her experience in RISD in Seoul. As one of seven students in the first semesterlong program abroad that RISD has launched since founding the European Honors Program in 1960, she enjoyed learning from Interior Architecture Professor Peter Yeadon, along with a wide range of Korean faculty and practicing professionals, during the fall. After visiting the island of Jeju (off the Southern coast of the peninsula), the demilitarized zone (above) and Seoul’s traditional hanok neighborhoods—along with a number of studios and local creative businesses— Bax felt a new surge of inspiration infusing her work. By positioning this new program in South Korea, RISD is introducing current students to interdisciplinary, intercultural learning in a country of great 50

// two college street

geopolitical and cultural significance, while also encouraging them to connect with a network of more than 2,000 Korean alumni. At the same time, the program nurtures RISD’s longstanding partnership with Ewha Womans University, a highly regarded research university with more than 25,000 students. A small group of Ewha students and faculty also participated in the fledgling program. Kate Cho BArch 09, who runs an architecture and design studio, is among the Korean alumni who visited for midterm critiques. “The international nature of the collaboration between students makes the program worthwhile,” she observes. “And for me, it was great to get back in the RISD loop and be a part of that studio culture again.”

“I’ve realized how valuable it is to take time to explore.” Zoë Bax 18 IA

Fall Open Studios Towards the end of every semester, the Student Alliance organizes separate Open Studios events for both undergraduate and graduate students. Everyone on campus is invited to stop by as many departments as they can to see what students are up to. In the Fletcher Building, grad students had fun showing off a personal tent, while a number of undergrads were dancing and rollerskating in Metcalf during their own Open Studios evenings. And in Ceramics, a cluster of paper studies proved to be as visually inviting as finished pieces.

SUPPORTING CROSS-CULTURAL ENGAGEMENT Late last spring 15 fellows from the UAE visited RISD for two weeks of workshops and crits as part of the 10-month Salama bint Hamdan Emerging Artists Fellowship (SEAF) program. Jointly designed and directed by RISD and the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation in Abu Dhabi, the program offers some of the UAE’s most promising emerging artists the opportunity to develop a sustainable artistic practice and potentially prepare to apply to MFA programs across the globe. “Architecture and design programs in the UAE are very strong, but there seemed to be a need to strengthen fine arts programs, which is why RISD got involved,” explains Professor Anais Missakian 84 TX, head of the Textiles department and academic program director for SEAF. A team of RISD faculty members travels to SEAF’s studios in Abu Dhabi four times per year to work directly with fellows, who also complete a series of online seminars Now in its fourth year, the program has surpassed expectations in terms of the number of fellows who have gone on to pursue MFAs at top-tier institutions like the Royal College of Art in London, Yale University and RISD. “The expectation is that alumni of the program will go back to the UAE,” Missakian says, “and drive a community of serious artists—maybe as teachers or maybe by starting arts-related nonprofits.” Find the latest stories about RISD students and studio projects at


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six degrees

//  connecting through the alumni association

(RE)CONNECTING AT RISD President Rosanne Somerson 76 ID and Director of Alumni Relations Christina Hartley 74 IL—both alumni themselves—covered a lot of ground as hosts-in-chief of RISD Weekend. Throughout the 2017 celebration for alumni and parents (October 6–8), hundreds of visitors enjoyed connecting with students, faculty, staff—and each other—over good food, interesting conversations, shared experiences and a wide range of stimulating programming. 52

Throughout the day on Saturday, the RISD Craft sales exhibition drew a steady stream of visitors and local art lovers to Benefit Street, many carrying babies, walking dogs and happily bumping into friends they hadn’t seen in years. Meanwhile, at the RISD Beach, kids and parents had fun creating a colorful collaborative string thing under the guidance of Laura Evonne Steinman 99 SC.

2017 Award Winners The RISD Craft jury chose Philadelphia-based ceramist Ahrong Kim MFA 13 CR (see work below right) for this year’s Emerging Artist Award. Visitors to the sales exhibition selected Kate (Fournier) Zelenka 09 AP, founder of Noepe Design on Martha’s Vineyard, as the winner of this year’s People’s Choice Award. Inspired by the island and its indigenous people — the Wampanoag — she burns her own drawings onto silkscreens and prints fabric that she combines with Italian leather to make one-of-a-kind bags (left) and home goods.

photos by Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH and Matt Watson 09 FAV

On Friday evening President Somerson (far right in the photo to the left) officially welcomed guests to campus at a special reception at the RISD Museum.

A range of workshops, exhibitions, readings and panel discussions kept visitors exploring every corner of campus on Friday and Saturday, learning about what’s going on in studios and seeing both finished work and projects in progress.

Keep tabs on what’s in store for 2018 at


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RISD x Miami On December 7 many of the alumni who showed work at Miami Art and Design Week (see ) got together at a RISD reception. President Rosanne Somerson 76 ID and a committee including John Cheim 77 PT, Anthony Grant 80 IL , RISD parents Diego and Gisela Lowenstein, Howard Read 76 PH and Tavares Strachan 03 GL hosted the reception at the Diana Lowenstein Gallery. President Somerson (above) poses with alumni Ian Stell MFA 12 FD, Andre Herrero BArch 12 and Adam Charlap Hyman 11 FD of Charlap Hyman & Herrero. House With Face, a resin sculpture by Jordan Wolfson 03 SC, stood out at the Sadie Coles booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach.

REUNITING AFTER HALF A CENTURY Although painter Bunny Harvey 67 PT/MFA 72 PT (in white, center, second to last row) doesn’t typically see herself as a social organizer, she was happy to pull together her 50th class reunion at RISD Weekend 17. The weekend full of warm gatherings included a special brunch for European Honors Program (EHP) alumni , a celebratory dinner at the President’s House (where this group photo was taken) and opportunities to connect with Professors Emeriti Jack Massey and Friedrich St. Florian, along with Professor Mike Fink, who’s celebrating his 60th year of teaching poetry, writing and film studies at RISD. Fifty years after the Class of 1967 dispersed into the world, the group hasn’t fundamentally changed, Harvey observes. “I think we were all pleasantly surprised to see what good shape people are in and to learn that many of us are still working as artists. And people who were outrageous then are still outrageous now. But as a whole I’d say we’re nicer now—more generous. We’ve evolved as people and we’re sort of proud of each other.” Harvey is now ready to pass along the role of reunion organizer to members of other classes marking significant milestones in 2018. If you’d like to volunteer or find out more, email 54

// six degrees

If you’re interested in helping to plan your own reunion, contact


bottom left: photo by Matt Watson 09 FAV | top: photos by Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH

During RISD Weekend, the Nature Lab hosted a series of events to kick off its 80th anniversary celebration— starting with the unveiling of its new green wall. As one of the innovations made possible by a $280,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, the wall is among the “living technologies” central to the lab’s ongoing research, says Director Neal Overstrom. During a workshop on Friday afternoon, visitors learned about the lab’s research initiatives, including an aquaponics fish tank that simultaneously feeds two active plant beds. On Friday evening, landscape architect Liat Margolis 96 ID spoke about the value of facilities like the Nature Lab, along with the Green

Roof Innovation Testing Laboratory (gritlab) that she leads at the University of Toronto, in discovering vital solutions to urgent environmental issues. And after a summery day on Saturday, a Sunday morning downpour brought the Nature Lab’s special events to a close with a very wet but satisfying Eating with the Ecosystem lunch out at Tillinghast Farm, RISD’s bayside retreat in Barrington, RI.

Introducing RISDmade Since so many alumni find joy and satisfaction in designing and making original work, the Alumni Relations Office has launched RISDmade ( ) as a convenient way to access a wide range of e-shops run by members of our community around the world. The collection will be refreshed periodically, with the next round of applications accepted in March.

Connect with alumni e-shops at


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//  who’s giving to risd + why

“I’ve been able to take risks and develop my practice in important new ways. Thanks to the Materials Fund, I am at liberty to experiment with scale and materiality, content and context.” Gabriel Guerin 18 PT

Contributions in support of RISD’s new Social Equity Initiative are: ► helping teenagers in need find a path to college through Project Open Door and the Pre-College Summer Program ► assisting first-generation college students through Project Thrive ► helping current students in need by offsetting the additional costs associated with studio materials and travel/study opportunities ► providing stipends that enable students who would otherwise need to earn income over the summer to benefit from professional internships


// impact

$1.75 million total in Annual Fund giving in 2016/17

GREAT PROGRESS IN 2017 Thanks to the leadership of President Rosanne Somerson 76 ID (whose own family stretched to make it possible for her to graduate from RISD), fundraising at RISD is transitioning to a new level. Working with the Institutional Engagement team, she has been reaching out to individual and corporate supporters to increase funding for financial aid—a top priority for making RISD accessible to students with limited

means. It’s clear from the events held throughout the country and the world—including a reception for families of accepted students last summer in San Francisco (facing page)—that RISD is still the top choice for students with the curiosity, talent and drive to take risks and discover just where an intense and immersive studio education will lead.

Recent gifts have already made a clear difference in students’ everyday experiences. Your generosity has allowed RISD to: ► increase scholarship support for more students in need ► inspire the community through an incredible array of visiting artists who bring diverse perspectives to campus ► underwrite fellowships for artists in residence who are deepening our conversations about race, gender, class and inclusion ► develop new programming, initiatives and interdisciplinary collaborations that continue to advance RISD’s global leadership

 10,789 total # of donors in 2015/16 and 16/17

RISD welcomes gifts at all levels at


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$2.6 million

in donor-funded scholarships available in 2016/17

CONTINUED NEED IN 2018 Students who began their first year at RISD in the fall represent the most competitive and diverse group of talented individuals ever admitted. But many of the 453 first-year, 59 transfer and 245 graduate students who have joined the RISD community need substantial and sustained assistance to meet the cost of tuition, fees and materials, which now exceeds $67,000 a year. The Class of 2021 was the first in which 100% of US-based first-year undergraduates with need received some amount of financial aid—

and at higher levels than at many other art schools. However, raising substantial scholarship support will remain a priority for the Class of 2022 and beyond. When donors give to scholarships, they do so knowing that they’re making all the difference in the life of a specific student. Once a year, when they come together at RISD to meet with scholarship recipients, both givers and receivers clearly connect. The faces tell it all.

 $1.71 million total contributed from 939 donors to the Rosanne Somerson Scholarship funds since 2015

To support students, please make a gift to the RISD Annual Fund at:


// impact

$334 million total value of RISD’s endowment as of 6.30.17

How endowment income is allocated: Increased funding for financial aid will enable RISD to: ► enroll more students who are qualified but in need of substantial assistance ► continue to prioritize racial and economic diversity among students ► help more graduate students offset the costs of attendance ► help prevent students from accruing unreasonable debt ► be accessible to more first-generation college students

“I actually cried when I read the email offering me the scholarship. It’s a huge honor. It means that RISD’s faculty sees my potential.” Naomi Bradford 19 FAV (left) the first recipient of the Seth MacFarlane Endowed Scholarship Fund All nonprofit universities and colleges like RISD rely on philanthropy to help support their mission. To make a contribution, go to


winter 2018


moving forward

//  undergraduate class notes

“While she used to paint directly from life, her recent works are primarily made from recollection… [allowing them to become] iconic representations of nature.” from the monograph accompanying Sum of, a summer solo show of paintings by Ilana Manolson 82 PR — a botanist and former naturalist for Parks Canada —  at Jason McCoy Gallery in NYC. Shown here: Fall Purse (detail, acrylic on Yupo paper, 36.5 x 24.75").

1959 Two large-scale works by Keith Hollingworth CR were exhibited in the fall at Springfield [MA] Technical Community College: 54 African Americans, a collage mural built from images in The New York Times, and Homage to Art, a series of 139 canvases done in the styles of great artists.


Last May handmade paper pieces by Wendy Ingram SC/ MAE 77 were installed at the BankRI Turks Head Gallery in Providence.

Don Almquist 51 IL After decades of working as an art director, illustrator and consultant to the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Don now enjoys painting from his studio on the banks of the Delaware River (in New Castle, DE). He recently exhibited at both Carspecken Gallery and Something’s Unique, both in Wilmington, DE.

In recent years he has also created a series of educational coloring books on nautical topics, windmills and local history.

1958 A jury selected 42nd Street, a pastel by David F. Kelley GD (Falmouth, MA), for inclusion in Enduring Brilliance, the Pastel Society of America’s 2017 exhibition. The show was on view in September at the National Arts Club Grand Gallery in NYC. 42nd Street also earned an award from the Pastel Societies of the Midwest.

1960 Dale (Peraner) Osterle AP showed hand-painted intaglio prints in Broadway to the Art Box, a fall solo exhibition at The Art Box in DeKalb, IL, where she lives.

Sebastian (2017, carbon composite, 7'2" x 4'6" x 4'6") is among the works shown in Richard Fishman: What Remains, an exhibition of recent sculptural work on view last fall at Brown University’s David Winton Bell Gallery. Richard is a professor of visual art at Brown.

ON TH E EVE OF TH E I R 50TH wedding anniversary, renowned children’s book illustrator Steven Kellogg 63 IL and his wife Helen faced the challenge of moving from Blockhouse Farm, their beautiful Greek revival home and historic barn overlooking Lake Champlain in upstate New York. Motivated by a need to downsize and provide solutions to developing physical requirements, they wanted a place that would showcase their extraordinary collection of art and antiques and also duplicate Steven’s studio setup. Since the Kelloggs owned nearby property on the lakeshore, they began to envision a new home there built from an 18th-century barn that Steven had had moved to the site. Enter Mark Hall 97 ID and his wife Erin (Callanan) Hall 97 TX , principals of Hall Design Group in Essex, NY. Soon after Steven contacted them, it became clear that Mark’s extensive experience in the design of timber frame structures made him a perfect fit for the project. Supported by a team of talented local craftsmen from Cloudsplitter Carpentry, the cross-generational RISD graduates established a creative collaboration characterized by a sensitive, enthusiastic and inspired sharing of ideas. The Kelloggs’ new home is truly remarkable. The converted barn addresses their physical needs, showcases their art collection, highlights the hand-hewn textures and sculptural qualities of the massive beams, takes advantage of the views and light of the lake and is a warm and very special place to live. Painted golden yellow like Blockhouse Farm and other historic houses in Essex, the house has been christened Camp Moonrise in honor of the magnificent spectacle that occurs monthly when the full moon ascends above the lake and illuminates the space with a magical radiance.

Please email class notes submissions to:

Find out more about Steven’s work at

1947 A still-life painting by Richard Parker GD took first prize in the 2016 edition of the Great Art Heist competition and fundraising event sponsored by the South County [RI] Art Association.

1949 J. Thomas Leamon IL, a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge in WWII, turned his wartime experience into a collection of artwork and published it in 2014. The Military Art of J. Thomas Leamon (Damien Digital) reflects his indelible memories of combat in 32 pages of sketches, paintings, models, dioramas and writings.

Jackie Melissas PT was one of 15 Maine artists selected for Let There Be Light: 2017 Menorah Invitational Exhibition at the Maine Jewish Museum in Portland. The menorahs were on view from November to early January.

1954 Still summering in the ancient windmill in Eastham, MA (on Cape Cod), Jim Owens IL submitted a beautifully handwritten card to say he’s “still doing a bit of calligraphy and selling an occasional watercolor.”

Richard Fishman 63 SC

1963 Paintings by Dinah Maxwell Smith PT were featured in East End Collected 3, a spring 2017 group exhibition at the Southampton [NY] Arts Center on Long Island, where she lives.

1964 Tide’s Out, one of the gelatin prints Nancy Crasco AE made last year using materials from California beaches, was included in the fall Member Exhibition at Mosesian Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA (near where she lives in Cambridge).


Nancy Taplin 64 PT


Nancy was pleased to contribute long and short (oil on rag paper, 39 x 42") to the ongoing Contemporary Voices of Vermont series at the University of Vermont’s Fleming Museum. If you find yourself in Burlington this academic year, head to the museum’s Marble Court to see the painting in person. The show closes on May 20.

1964 continued

by Karen A. Franck NANCY’S STUDIO on Broome Street is high ceilinged and spacious — and showing its age. It is filled with all manner of things from her travels, rather like a scrapbook one can enter. Books line the shelves and are stacked in neat piles, numerous yellow Post-Its peeking out from their pages. This is not only a studio, it is a well-used library, known well to its occupant. Last April, when I asked Nancy where several books were, she knew immediately. On one wall Nancy has tacked several recent sketches of different sizes, some with all the energy and freedom that mark the first steps in her process —  energy that eventually becomes highly concentrated in amazingly disciplined and detailed final works. Those are works that require intense concentration and care and considerable physical stamina to complete. It is against that wall that her easel stands, displaying a work in progress, with a stool in front, waiting. I once spent many hours in this room, interviewing Nancy and working on our book Hidden Cities, Hidden Longings. But the space still remains a bit mysterious to me. I always feel a hush here. Even lying prone in bed in the room next door —  unable to stand or sit — Nancy drew in a sketchbook she kept next to her. She said many times how much she wanted to get back to work. I learned from her illness that having the energy and physical ability to engage fully in the work one relishes is a gift not to be squandered. I need to remember that. At the end, Nancy lay in bed in her studio. Her work and the stacks of books surrounded her and her visitors. She no longer talked about needing to get back to work. She expressed no frustration or concern that she had left something unfinished. Instead, she told me that she was pleased with what she had accomplished — with the body of work she had produced. I want to remember that as well.

Nancy (Keefer) Wolf 64 PT passed away in New York City on June 30, 2017. 62

// undergraduate class notes

Fifty recent digital prints and other works by Elizabeth Ginsberg TX are included in Pattern and Place: Works on Paper by Elizabeth Ginsberg (September 2017, 12 Mile Press). The longtime resident of New Jersey created a mixed-media work on canvas titled 20 Conversations in honor of Studio Montclair’s 20th anniversary exhibition 20/20, on view last fall at the Montclair, NJ gallery.

1966 In the fall Karen Moss PT (Brookline, MA) showed mixed-media collage work in Society in Upheaval, a three-person exhibition at Wheaton College’s Beard Gallery in Norton, MA.

in NYC. The Vermont-based artist also had two works in the fall exhibition IN DEATH at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts.

1968 50th Reunion October 5 – 7 Last summer Cherie Pinsky PT participated for the fourth time in the annual Artist Studio Tour in South Lake Tahoe, CA. Her work reflects her interest in the historic architecture in and around Lake Tahoe,

including depictions of a 19th-century cattle ranch that was torn down due to neglect.

1969 In 2017 Ed Baranosky PT exhibited paintings in two shows at Lucsculpture Gallery in Toronto (where he lives): A Quiet Storm, a solo exhibition of marine paintings (OctoberNovember), and a group show titled New Earth (June). In 1974 Perci Chester PT/PR captured San Francisco in the pre-AIDS era in a series of


Edward Grazda 69 PH

Shelter, a torn-paper weaving by Deidre Scherer AE, is on view through June 29 in the group show HOME(LESS) at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum

In Mean Streets: NYC 1970 –1985 (October 2017, Powerhouse Books), his new book of black-and-white photographs, Ed portrays street life in the city during a time of economic collapse and poor social services. He also had work in two exhibitions last year: Muslim in New York at The Museum of the City of New York (February –August) and Viewpoints: Latin America in Photographs at the NY Public Library (March –July).

Chip Simone 67 PH Chip found the process of revisiting a half-century’s worth of work for One Glass Eye, his recent retrospective, to be an interesting and emotional challenge. The exhibition was on view in the fall at the Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia in Atlanta, where he lives.

roughly 200 playful and affectionate photographs. In Search of the Glass Slipper—a solo show held last summer at Traffic Zone Gallery in Minneapolis— brought together a selection of these portraits for “an exploration of identity that recalls a unique moment in time.” Bruce Helander IL/MFA 72 PT was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Palm Beach [FL] Modern + Contemporary art fair, a component of Art Miami (December 2016). In the past year, he contributed articles to The Huffington Post, delivered three lectures on Mark Rothko at the Society of Four Arts (Palm Beach) and curated several exhibitions: the

J. Steven Manolis survey at the Coral Springs [FL] Museum of Art and shows for the Palm Beach County Cultural Council

Maureen McCabe 69 IL The Fantastical Art of Maureen McCabe and Baron Ernst von Maydell was shown last fall at the Cooley Gallery in Old Lyme, CT. A longtime admirer of von Maydell’s work, the Connecticut-based artist best known for her collage work was inspired to create Pansy (mixed media and pastel on archival inkjet, 16 x 13 x 1.5") and other fanciful assemblages based on his watercolors.

and the Center for Creative Education in West Palm Beach, where he lives. In Modules, Specimens, and Improvisations, her spring 2017 solo show at the Kirkland Art Center in Clinton, NY, Rosalyn Richards PT exhibited work in a variety of media, including oils on canvas and ink drawings on paper. Sculptures by Vermont-based artist Judith Unger PT were exhibited at the Art Hearts Fashion event at the Angel Orensanz Foundation during last September’s New York Fashion Week.

1970 Wild Atoms, a cast-glass and steel work by Providencebased artist Meris Barreto SC/ MAE 74, was featured last summer in the 7th Anniversary Show at Dedee Shattuck Gallery in Westport, MA. Building on many years as a volunteer environmental educator, Katharine Dodge IL recently designed and executed a large indoor mural depicting the native flora, fauna and geology of Wayne County, PA, where she lives. She and fellow artist Helena Guindon donated more than 3,000 hours Please email class notes submissions to:

Bunny Harvey 67 PT/MFA 72 PT Night Pond Voices (2017, oil on canvas, 66 x 54") is among the paintings Bunny exhibited last fall in Place in Mind, her first solo show at Atelier Newport [RI] (see also page 54).

to the project at the Wayne Conservation District office, which incorporates a 3D habitat for the district’s taxidermy collection (a requirement of the

finished piece). The mural was unveiled in January 2017 and now serves as an environmental education tool for the community. // RISDXYZ

winter 2018


Lisa Houck 75 PR A Welcome Distraction (watercolor, 20 x 34") is one of the exuberant paintings Lisa showed in the fall at Beth Urdang Gallery in Boston. She works in several media —  mosaic, oil, ceramics —  and shares her work online at

1975 The Immensity of Particles, a show of paintings by Emily Cheng PT, was held in the fall at Ille Arts in Amagansett, NY. To read about her process, and the powerful imagery she conjures, check out the post Beer with a Painter on

Things are good on the personal side, too: he and Amy Blake IL now live in St. Petersburg, FL and visited Providence recently on their 35th wedding anniversary. “The city and College Hill are just beautiful,” he writes— “much better than when we were at RISD well over 40 years ago.” Last June landscape architect, photographer and abstract painter Richard Kattman BLA (Holliston, MA) immersed himself in making new work during a wonderful two-week residency at Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts in Saratoga, WY.

1973 Deborah Gavel 77 IL Early in 2015 Deborah departed from her usual art practice when “a chance meeting — a love affair with Sandhill cranes”— started her practice of painting feathers. She exhibited this new work —  portraiture of specific birds — last summer in Winged Victory, a solo show at 5G gallery in Albuquerque, NM, where she lives.

1970 continued For his first one-person show in 23 years, Dan Gosch PT “burrowed through the archives to come up with paintings and drawings going back as far as 1970, to hang alongside new work that might actually still be wet.” The exhibition was on view last spring at Providence’s Emporium of Popular Culture. Four paintings by Andrew Stevovich PT were featured in a fall exhibition of Adelson 64

// undergraduate class notes

Gallery artists held at the Cavalier Gallery in NYC.

1972 A digital photo collage by Bob Barancik Arch is on view through February 25 in Science Inspires Art: Ocean, a group exhibition at the New York Hall of Science. Another of his prints—Sadness Face, from his 9/11: Visual Ruminations series—was included in last year’s Just Under 100: New Prints 2017/Summer at IPCNY.

45th Reunion October 5 – 7 Portrait Project, a group of 17 artists including Howard Gladstone FAV, mounted its second exhibition last May at Westbeth Gallery in NYC. To make matters interesting, each person showing in Artists Portraying Artists depicted at least one other artist in the group.

1974 Chris Frantz PT and Tina Weymouth PT—the musicians at the heart of Tom Tom Club— celebrated the 36th anniversary of their first album with a new video for the song As Above, So Below. Fellow RISD grad Mary Lambert IL made the original music video for the song in

1981. Chris and Tina share a home in Westport, CT. Three pieces by J.D. King IL were selected for Collage/ Reformat/Refocus, a group show on view for several months last year at Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, NY.

In respond relate refine, a fall exhibition of work by Fairfax County [VA] Public School fine arts teachers, Rory Marcaccio Schaffer AE/MAE 79 showed a recent glass piece in memory of her brother Robby. The work was on view in September and October at Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA.

1976 Dave Calver IL was among the artists to participate in

David Frazer 70 PT Last winter Finland (2015, oil on canvas, 72 x 66") and 37 other paintings were on view in No Room for Form, a major one-person exhibition at the Shandong [China] Art Museum curated by former RISD President Roger Mandle. In June another solo show —  Call and Response: A Romantic Imperative — followed at the China Academy of Art Museum in Hangzhou. Last summer David’s work was also included in a traveling group show that visited venues in Beijing, Urumqi and Karamay, China. A longtime professor of Painting at RISD, he’s currently serving as department head.

Henry Isaacs 73 PT Cannon Rock #1 (oil on canvas, 30 x 40") was among the 20 landscape paintings Henry showed last July in Finding Values, his first solo show at Greenhut Galleries in Portland, ME (where he lives). He has work in public and private collections throughout the country and exhibits his work widely.

Geoffrey Warner 77 PH Old lines and netting from the fishing industry eventually disintegrate, leaking micro polymers into the ocean; Geoff is on a mission to reclaim the material and recycle it into something useful — and comfortable, too. His furniture studio ( in Stonington, ME recently won an MTI TechStart Grant to look into using the cast-off synthetics to produce its popular Pro Owl seat.

ARTTRUMPS: Resistance and Action, held last spring at BONFIRE Gallery in Seattle. In the previous issue of RISD XYZ we inadvertently left his name off the list of grads who took a stand (though we did run a large image from his new book The Limbo Lounge on page 62!). For Triumph of Memory, a day-long installation and workshop last spring, Amy Cohen TX (Providence) and two students drew 72 chalk silhouettes on an outdoor plaza at the University of Rhode Island: one for each person who perished in the Holocaust and has family ties in RI. Carol Heft PT showed work at two galleries last September. Blue Mountain Gallery in NYC was the site of her solo exhibition Figure Drawings, and Philadelphia’s Gross McLeaf hosted Losing Its Name, a three-person show featuring Carol’s landscape drawings. In collaboration with United Arts of Central Florida, Shelley Lake IL presented (and exhibited in) Perception and Reality II last spring in

three Snap! Orlando galleries. Additionally, her digital pieces Superman and Supergirl won her a finalist spot in the 2017 Photoshop World Guru Awards competition. Last spring, when two friends were undergoing treatment at the Helen and Harry Gray Cancer Center at Hartford [CT] Hospital, NYC-based artist Sally Mara Sturman PR embarked on the “Great Gray Wall Project” to beautify the view from their hospital windows. A vibrant garden now blooms on the formerly “horrible” wall, thanks to Sally and fellow artist Catherine Guillaud, who put the finishing touches on the mural in October.

Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York (Bloomsbury USA, October 2017), the latest graphic novel reflecting the wry wit and keen observation of Roz Chast PT, sparked a new wave of publicity last fall for the well-known New Yorker cartoonist who grew up in NYC but has lived in the exurbs of Ridgefield, CT for years. Paintings, a solo exhibition by Donna Coleman PT, was installed at The Little Gallery at BGSU Firelands in Huron, OH, last August and September. She posts her work online at Still enjoying life in Indonesia, Ricker Winsor PH/MFA 78 PT has published Tik Tok (Mud Flat Press, 2017), a collection of 36 poems accompanied by 32 ink drawings done with reed pens and brushes. It’s available on Amazon, along with his two previous books.

1978 40th Reunion October 5 – 7 Last June Amy (Wismar) Conover AP ( showed New Works, a collection of recent oil paintings, in a three-person show at The Stanley Whitman House in Farmington, CT. She’s been a member of the West Hartford [CT] Art League for 10 years and is an active painter in coastal Maine and Connecticut. Valerie Hird PT (Burlington, VT) showed work in two group exhibitions in the fall. Her watercolor installation Wabi Sabi (a continuation of The New Mythologies Series) was on view

at the Monmouth Museum in Lindcroft, NJ; and in Here and There at the Atlantic Works Gallery in Boston, she and nine other MFA alumni of the Vermont College of Fine Arts considered the meaning and importance of place. Last April Cynthia Arundhati Ladds SC exhibited paintings in Timeless awakenings: a retrospective, a solo show in her home city—at the Santa Fe [NM] Public Library. Inspired by “a 12th-century map of seemingly impossible geography,” Susan Osgood PT played with line, depth and mapping as she created the monotypes, oil paintings and collages in Mapping the Unknown. The solo show was on view in the fall at Mitchell Giddings Fine Art in Brattleboro, VT (where she lives).

Susan (Mallory) Sherman 74 CR Sisyphus resting on the way to Bear Den, after the fire (oil, 18 x 24") is one of the pieces Susan exhibited in October and November in Hidden Order: Adirondack Paintings, a one-woman show at Maud Morgan Arts in Cambridge, MA (where she lives).

1977 Last fall Karen Rand Anderson CR showed abstract work in Land, Sea, Sky, a group exhibition at Providence’s ArtProv gallery—which was also the venue for Heart of a Tree, Karen’s three-person show with Mary Jane Andreozzi MAT 87 and Paula Martiesian 76 PT (summer 2017).

Please email class notes submissions to:


winter 2018


Victoria Kann 85 IL A dozen years after the publication of her first Pinkalicious book — which became a New York Times bestseller and unfurled a series of more than 50 picture books and early readers, including Peterrific last spring — Victoria has been working nonstop to create Pinkalicious & Peterrific, a new PBS series. Designed to help preschool-age children explore the arts and creativity, the TV show debuts on February 19. Pinkalicious, The Musical just celebrated its 10th year off-Broadway and continues to tour nationwide.



Arch Architecture CR Ceramics Digital + Media


FAV Film/Animation/ Video FD

Furniture Design


Graphic Design

GL Glass IA

Interior Architecture


Industrial Design

IL Illustration JM Jewelry + Metalsmithing PH Photography PT Painting PR Printmaking SC Sculpture TX Textiles

5 T H -Y E A R D E G R E E BArch Architecture MASTER’S DEGREES Art Education (formerly MAE)


MArch Architecture MAT Teaching MDes Design in Interior Studies MFA

Fine Arts


Industrial Design


Interior Architecture

MLA Landscape Architecture FORMER MAJORS Advertising Design


AE Art + Design Education LA Landscape Architecture MD

Machine Design


Textile Chemistry


Textile Engineering


Graphic Design


Industrial Design

BIA Interior Architecture BLA Landscape Architecture OTHER BRDD Brown/RISD Dual Degree CEC Continuing Education Certificate FS

enrolled for Foundation Studies only

* attended RISD, but no degree awarded


// undergraduate class notes

1979 Deborah Baronas TX used drawings, paint, glass and fabric to create the pieces in Evolve - Industry to Artistry, a solo show held last June at Van Vessem Gallery in Tiverton, RI. Dedee Shattuck Gallery in Westport, MA, was the site of a summer exhibition that featured work by four RISD people working in various mediums: Professor of Illu-

Chris Bird 81 GD Based in Sebastopol, CA, Chris has kept up an active painting practice as a sideline to his career in advertising and marketing, and he’s recently begun showing his vibrant acrylic canvases. Visit the Sebastopol Center for the Arts between February 16 and March 25 to see his solo exhibition Radiant Entropy; he’s getting ready for another show in September at the Findley Center in Santa Rosa, CA.

stration Jean Blackburn PT, Daniel Clayman 86 GL, Peter Diepenbrock BID 84 and Didi Suydam 85 JM.

1981 As part of an ongoing collaboration, Anna Boothe SC (Zieglerville, PA) and Nancy Cohen exhibited Permutations last summer at the Philadelphia Art Alliance. The installation included hundreds of glass objects—formed by kiln-casting, slumping, fusing, blowing, hot-sculpting and sand-casting—inspired by the artists’ interest in Tibetan Buddhist paintings. Steven (Songan) Brunner AP writes that he is “presently focusing on painting abstractions using natural found materials.” Last spring three of these recent works were featured in The Contemporaries, a group show at Parlor Gallery in Asbury Park, NJ.

If you flew into Rhode Island’s T.F. Green Airport last summer, odds are you glimpsed an installation of ceramic work by Craig Crawford TX. The RISCA-sponsored show Object of Affection featured her threepart series of “tiles, plates and sculptural forms” inspired by botanists of centuries past. Last summer Patrick Dunfey PT showed Large Paintings on Paper at South River Gallery in South Royalton, VT. Working large (up to 60 x 85") in tempera and pigmented gesso on hot press watercolor paper, he plays with perspective and texture in saturated colors. Patrick works as head of exhibitions at Dartmouth’s Hood Museum of Art in Hanover, NH. John Gardner BArch (see pages 96–97) Last summer RI-based artist Elizabeth Pannell SC had a solo exhibition titled Plein Air Paintings at Chilmark Library on Martha’s Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts.

1982 Ilana Manolson PR (see page 60)

1983 35th Reunion October 5 – 7 Langton Creative Group, the NYC communications design firm where David Langton GD is president, received five Communicator Awards in 2017 for strategic print and multimedia projects—including for the firm’s own website, Last spring Shari Wolf GD exhibited her work along with 11 other artists in Boundaries Inside/Outside at the Mandel

J. Howard Williams BArch 81 Abstracting Morphologies, Howard’s recent project with Hollander Design Landscape Architects (NYC), won recognition from the American Society of Landscape Architects, national and NY State chapter (2017 honor award) and Architizer (2017 A+ award). Designed around a residence by Steven Holl Architects, “it intentionally rejects all easily recognizable pattern and repetition,” he says, though it does reference the fractured basalt cliffs and talus slopes across the Hudson River.

Stephen Dynia BArch 83 Last September the Wyoming chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) presented Stephen with a silver medal — its highest honor — in recognition of his contributions to the practice and the organization. His firm Dynia Architects (Jackson, WY and Denver, CO) earned an award of excellence for the Diagonal House in Teton Village, WY, a merit for The Grove in Jackson, WY and citations for Boardwalk Cabin Compound in Teton County, WY and Freight Residences in Denver (shown here).

Jewish Community Center in Beachwood, OH.

1984 John Colwell FAV creates one-of-a-kind pairs of Cosmic Kicks sneakers as special freebies to generate buzz for his studio, John Colwell Graphic Design, in Iowa City. “I enjoy giving them away with the promise that their owners will show them off and promote my business,” he notes. Peter Diepenbrock BID 84 (Jamestown, RI) conceptualized The Foundry Clock Man, a 12-foot-tall sculpture of a historic industrial worker pushing a large vintage clock. Commissioned as a tribute to the Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Co.—a RI company that

initially manufactured clocks—the sculpture weighs 9,000 pounds and has been permanently installed on top of a Foundry complex building overlooking the highway in Providence. A Greenwich Village apartment with stately interior design by Glenn Gissler BArch (and his team at Glenn Gissler Design) was featured in LUXE magazine (9.17). Among the striking elements in the family home: a set of limited-edition prints by Walton Ford 82 FAV and a chandelier by Lindsey Adelman 96 ID.

in Touchstones, Totems, Talismans: Animals in Contemporary Art at the Brattleboro [VT] Museum. The exhibition— also featuring work by Walton Ford 82 FAV and Stephen Petegorsky MFA 80 PH—continues through February 11.

1985 Allison Druin GD is now working at Pratt as the founding Associate Provost for Research & Strategic Partnerships. “In this newly created position, I work with each of the deans to support

emerging research activities,” she explains, “and with each of the centers and institutes to expand their research outreach and resources.” For almost 20 years, Allison had worked at the University of Maryland as a professor, lab director and associate dean and also held the title of “chief futurist.” Her research has focused on the development of technology for children, resulting in collaborations with organizations ranging from Google and Nickelodeon to the White

John Beerman 82 PT Lightning Bolt Corona (2015, oil on linen, 24 x 26") is among the 34 luminous landscapes and still lifes exhibited in a spring 2017 solo exhibition at Lee Hansley Gallery in Raleigh, SC. Born in Greensboro, John recently returned to Durham, NC (“You bloom where you’re planted, I guess,” he notes in a recent article in Walter magazine) and is represented by Tibor de Nagy Gallery in NYC.

House and the US Library of Congress.

Michael Gabellini BArch 81 + Kim Sheppard BArch 86 Combining historic preservation and adaptive reuse, Gabellini Sheppard Associates recently restored the neoclassical office lobby of the former AT&T Building in Lower Manhattan to house new retail spaces and a public galleria. The firm earned the NYCxDESIGN Award for its graceful, non-intrusive renovation of the space, now known as 195 Broadway.

A felt hat created by Juliane Gorman TX (felt-happiness. com) was selected for Blue, a juried exhibition of the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh [PA]. The show was held last summer and fall at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Art for Arts’ Sake, a solo show of paintings by Steven Kenny IL, was on view last fall at Angela King Gallery in New Orleans. Two of his paintings, The Arrival and The Carriage, were recently acquired by the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs, FL, near where he lives in St. Petersburg. Colleen Kiely PT (Medford, MA) is exhibiting paintings of Beau, her beloved basset hound,

Please email class notes submissions to:


winter 2018


Scott Lindenau BArch 86 As principal and founder of Studio B in Aspen and Boulder, CO, Scott was named Colorado’s 2017 architect of the year by the AIA. Recent projects include Aspen Community School as well as other civic, educational and residential work in Florida, California, Iowa and South Dakota. Scott co-directs summer graduate studios through the University of Colorado Denver College of Architecture and Planning, and also teaches figure drawing.

as seen through the eyes of two imaginative kids.

hubs” to replace Riker’s Island prison in NYC. Visit Nader’s blog at for more on the team’s promising report.

1986 Peter L. Brown IL has been drawing (and will soon animate) the web comic Brady the Betta, starring a fish that lives in a bowl of Poland Spring water (based on the real-life aquatic adventures of his daughter’s fish). The NJ-based artist also develops content for and is working on illustrations for Breaking Up Badly, his second book with author Jon Patrick Hatcher.

Stephanie Roberts-Camello 85 PT Where the two shall meet (2016, encaustic wrap on old letters, 15 x 12.5 x 2.75") and other encaustic relief paintings were on view in two shows last spring and summer: Depth Perception at the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis, MA, and Sense of Place at Truro [MA] Center for the Arts at Castle Hill. In the fall her work was also included in a four-person exhibition at ArtBlock Gallery in Boston, and in the Shifts show at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, MA.

1985 continued As reform advocates look for solutions to the problems of the US prison system, they are turning to architects such as Nader Tehrani BArch, dean of 68

// undergraduate class notes

Architecture at Cooper Union and principal of the design firm NADAAA. The firm recently worked with an interdisciplinary team to propose a series of community-based “justice

Paintings by Farsad Labbauf ID/BID 87—who works out of his studio in Jersey City, NJ and often makes work related to Iran—have been published in two recent books. His portrait of fashion designer Lie Sang Bong was chosen for the cover of Moments, a visual diary of Bong’s 30-year career. In addition, Farsad’s work is featured in Honar: The Afkhami Collection of Modern and Contemporary Iranian Art (2017, Phaidon Press).

1987 For the group exhibition String Theories, Eileen Ferara IL created an installation inspired by estuaries and local water-

ways—particularly Trapa natans, an invasive water plant introduced in the US in the 1870s. The work was on view last July at Field Projects in Chelsea. Eileen also curated On a Different Page, an exhibition of book art that ran in the fall at the Visual Art Gallery in Jersey City, NJ, where she lives.

1988 30th Reunion October 5 – 7 Marion Kyff Dodd IL recently published her second book: A Spooky Night (Heronview Studios, September 2017). In text and deep-toned watercolor illustrations, the author/ illustrator based in Mystic, CT conjures up the eerie wonders of a New England fall night,

Landscape photographs by Boston-based artist John Ruggieri PT* have been selected for The Print Swap (, an initiative from Feature Shoot that invites photographers from around the world to submit images to be considered for exchange with other photographers.

1989 Work by Brooklyn-based artist

Trine Giaever 87 IL Red Herring (acrylic on wood, 8 x 10 x 1") and another of Trine’s paintings were selected for Guilty Pleasures, a summer 2017 show at Bell-ans Center of Creative Arts in Orangeburg, NY, near where she lives in Piermont. In June she showed 30 paintings and prints at Nyack [NY] Library, and her work was also shown at Village Hall Gallery in Hastings-onHudson, NY and Mikhail Zakin Gallery in Demarest, NJ. It earned an honorable mention in a juried show at Rockland Center for the Arts in West Nyack, NY.

Brian Kane 87 PT + Michael Oatman 86 PT When Brian and Michael were invited to make something for the outdoor exhibition Out of Site: Contemporary Sculpture at Chesterwood, the two friends — who have collaborated on and off over the past 30 years — came up with Landing Module, a 19' inflatable anvil, and The 8th Wonder (2014–17, inflatable, electronics, 23 x 18 x 16'). The monstrous creations drew curious crowds at Chesterwood in Stockbridge, MA last summer and fall.

Nicole Eisenman PT—winner of a 2015 MacArthur Award, which extends for five years—was featured in Engender, a fall group show at Kohn Gallery in Los Angeles. The exhibition explored the power of contemporary art to break down the binary classifications of gender.

sculptures made from ceramic, fabric, paper and images. Karen’s work is featured in an artist zine—also titled Seesaw—produced last spring at Waterfall Arts. In October Liz Jaff PT created a site-specific installation at Boston’s City Hall Plaza for Hubweek 2017, the city’s

festival exploring innovation at the intersections of art, science and technology. The paper sculptural interventions expanded on Field Notes, her street art/social media experiment in bringing ephemeral work into public spaces in unexpected arrangements. She also exhibited in the group show Subtle Formations at Kean University in Union, NJ (November-December). In an August episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern on The Travel Channel, Fred Lynch IL talked about his drawing series along the route

Melinda Beck 89 GD (right) Melinda’s first children’s book — called Lines, with text by Sarvinder Naberhaus — was released by Little Simon in August. Based in Brooklyn, she continues to create compelling editorial illustrations for a range of clients, including recent covers for The New York Times Book Review and Columbia Journalism Review.

of Paul Revere’s ride. Pieces from the same project were published last spring in the French magazine XXI (May 2017). Fred, an associate professor in RISD’s Illustration department, also wrote about

his artwork in “Drawing from Experience,” an article for the Amherst College literary magazine The Common.

Karen Gelardi PT teamed up with longtime collaborator Anna Hepler, who shares her interest in textiles, printmaking and blurring boundaries between disciplines, for Seesaw, held last summer at Perimeter Gallery and Waterfall Arts in Belfast, ME, where she lives. The exhibition included

Jeanne Steers 85 IL Shaping Life: Expression from Within, a summer solo show of Jeanne’s 3D paintings at Oxford [CT] Baking Company, explored “the common thread that runs through life, despite the vast differences and experiences of each individual being,” she explains. Based in Roxbury, CT, she runs a design business and also enjoys collaborating with her carpenter husband Chris on the hardboard cutting and metalwork that go into making her 3D paintings. Please email class notes submissions to:


winter 2018


Karen LaMonte 90 GL Karen continued her explorations of weight and weightlessness, presence and absence in Glasstress 2017, her exhibition at the fall 2017 Venice Biennale. Cumulus embodies those paradoxes: a precise representation of a cloud, rendered in 2.5 tons of marble. Karen has lived in the Czech Republic since she was a Fulbright Fellow there in 1999. You can see two short documentary videos about her recent bodies of work at

“collaborative dialogue” to create the work in in Crescita, their fall show at Jamestown [RI] Arts Center. Maggie’s intaglio prints complemented Natasha’s delicate glass creations.

The New Criterion, The Federalist and Delicious Line (, a site he recently launched to publish art criticism by paid writers. The Boston-based artist has also been using his artwork to support important causes, including the efforts of the Asperger/Autism Network ( and the Sam & Adele Golden Foundation for the Arts.

Liz Collins 91 TX/MFA 99 Liz created Cave of Secrets as a full-gallery installation for Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon, on view through January 21 at the New Museum in NYC. Current Textiles majors Sydney Foreman 18 TX and Felix Beaudry 18 TX worked on the installation during a summer internship at Liz’s studio in Brooklyn.

1990 SoHyun Bae PT showed mixed-media works on canvas last spring in a group exhibition at Skoto Gallery, NYC. As a Joe Rogan podcast fan, Gary Bernard IL (Philadelphia, PA) began drawing his guests 70

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last year as a way of keeping in practice. He shares his work on Instagram @garybernardart. Franklin Einspruch IL has been busy with drawing and printing ( as well as writing: his essays on art (and one on free speech) have been published recently in

Jean Pettigrew Whelan PT shares her paintings and her inspirations on Instagram @ paintcooklove. She tells us that she was “honored to work on Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #280 and Wall Drawing #273 for the opening of the new SFMOMA last year,” a followup to her work on installing Wall Drawing #45: Straight lines 10” (25 cm) long, not touching, covering the wall evenly at the museum in 2012.

Paul Forsyth 90 IL With the opioid addiction epidemic in the US at its worst in Cuyahoga County, OH, Doner Advertising, where Paul ( is creative director, was commissioned by the county government to produce a hard-hitting PSA campaign, including provocative print, video and “guerilla tactic” media.

1991 Katherine Daniels PT exhibited beaded sculptures last fall in MORPH, her third solo exhibition at Station Independent Projects, the gallery run by Leah Oates IL on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Both artists are based in NYC. Natasha Harrison GL and Maggie Nowinski worked in

As the technical director for animation at V! Studios in Virginia (, Frank McIntyre ID helped launch NASA’s new cloudbased, publicly accessible Image and Video Library last spring. He also works on Science Cast, a series of captivating videos about space and NASA’s latest research. Bronwyn Minton PH is the new director of exhibitions and programming for the Art Association, a nonprofit that offers arts education and outreach to the community

of Jackson Hole, WY, and beyond. In this role, she oversees all art education programs, curriculum development and exhibitions in the gallery. Last fall work by San Franciscobased artist Mel Prest PT was included in About Abstraction: Bay Area Women Painters at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, CA and Sluice Art Fair in London. Michael Riley GD and his team at Shine (shinestudio. com) in Los Angeles have created another snappy title sequence—this time for The Tick, an Amazon Studios series that launched last August.

1992 Last summer the NY State Council on the Arts/NY Foundation for the Arts awarded Richard Barlow PT a 2017 artist fellowship in the Printmaking/Drawing/Book Arts category. Additionally, he created Roadside Picnic II for the juried exhibition Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region (summer 2017) at the Albany [NY] Institute of History and Art. The large (127 x 330") site-specific chalk wall drawing earned the Board of Trustees award. Damaged, a solo show of politically charged new work by Shepard Fairey IL, was on view in late fall at Library Street

Collective in Los Angeles, where he lives. Type Specimens (Princeton Architectural Press, November 2017), a newly released collection of postcards curated by renowned type designer Tobias Frere-Jones GD, features his 50 favorites drawn from his personal collection of typography from the US, Great Britain, Germany and France. “It was genuinely difficult to choose only a dozen examples from each place when the histories are so rich,” says the Brooklyn-based designer. “There are so many stories to be found and ‘read’ here.”

College of Imaging Arts & Sciences) since 1998. Elissa Levy GL contributed Belle De Jour (an archival digital print) and one other piece to The Times, a group show that was on view last spring at Flag Art Foundation in NYC. All the work in the show involved The New York Times in some way.

Rebecca Chamberlain 91 AP VDL Lakeview Then/Now (2016, diptych, lithography ink on fabricwrapped boards, 12 x 25") was among the multi-panel, windowheight interior and landscape paintings and door-height works on paper on view in HOMATORIUM III, Lost Horizon, Rebecca’s first solo show in Los Angeles. Exhibited last fall at Charlie James Gallery, the work investigated the potential for architecture to satisfy psychological needs for “safety, possibility and belonging.” Rebecca lives and works in Brooklyn and Delancey, NY but visited public housing projects, garden apartments and private homes in and around LA in preparation for the show.

Laura Owens PT (pages 10–11) Passages: A Solo Exhibition of New Paintings by NYC-based artist Sonya Sklaroff PT was shown in September and October at Galerie Anagama, which represents her in Versailles, France.

1993 25th Reunion October 5 – 7 Robin Cass GL has been appointed interim dean at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), following a tenure as senior associate dean of the college. She’s been a faculty member in the glass program in RIT’s School for American Crafts (part of the

Please email class notes submissions to:


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Chris Condon 95 SC (below) Ardea (wood, cornhusks, steel, 64 x 28 x 13") is among the new sculptures on view last fall in Low Country, a solo show at Spalding Nix Fine Art in Atlanta. Chris’ recent work focuses on the flora, fauna and textures of coastal South Carolina and Georgia, where he lives.

Seth MacFarlane 95 FAV The creator of Family Guy and Ted and man of a thousand voices has made the leap to space with The Orville, a new hour-long adventure series from 20th Century Fox. In addition to creating, writing and serving as executive producer for the show, Seth stars as commanding officer of “a mid-level exploratory spaceship” that “faces the wonders and dangers of outer space, while also dealing with the familiar, often humorous problems of everyday life.”

1993 continued Jarrett Mellenbruch PT ( is the subject of an in-depth article in Sculpture 36.4 (May 2017). A number of his ongoing projects are highlighted, including a new Haven sculpture recently

installed at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, KS. A Carol Lavin Bernick Faculty Grant from Tulane University enabled Carrie Lee Pierson Schwartz GL to give visitors to the New Orleans Museum

of Art a chance to try out “cutting-edge technology in the realms of virtual and augmented reality, animation and digital gaming.” As creator and moderator of the October symposium Technology & Storytelling, the first in a collaborative series between Tulane and the museum, she assembled a panel of tech experts for a fascinating look into the creativity and design thinking behind immersive technology. Carrie is a Senior Professor of Practice for Digital Design at Tulane School of Professional Advancement (SoPA) and the first full-time SoPA faculty member to receive the grant.

1994 From November to January 1 artist Jeff Bye IL (Hershey, PA) exhibited new paintings in a one-person show at Steven Amedee Gallery in Tribeca.

Annie Kantor 96 TX (left) In 2012, while searching for a heating system air grille as part of her home renovation, Annie instead discovered a market niche. She couldn’t find a beautiful grille to meet her needs, so she applied her experience in the textile industry to designing one for herself; two years later, AJK Design Studio (ajkdesign was born. “The response from the architectural and design community has been incredibly positive,” she says. A wall grille from her latest line, Kamakura, is shown here. 72

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Jessica Burko 96 PH

Jerome Lagarrigue 96 IL Jerome’s expressive oil portraits and large-scale paintings inspired by recent social conflicts were hugely well received at a fall solo show at RISD’s ISB Gallery. La Charge (2017, oil on linen, 70 x 70") is among the work the Brooklyn-based painter exhibited at RISD and also in Tipping Point, his solo show last winter at Lazarides gallery in London.

“At a time when clean and new are very welcomed by most, my eyes…are drawn to the ugly beautiful,” he says—“the spaces that have character and a reflection of the past.”

2017 issue of National Geographic. Other recent commissions include illustrations for a piece on Hitler’s sweet tooth in the September issue of The Atlantic and on “The Drunk Vote” in the October issue; a portrait of Danish comedian Carsten Bang for the September issue of

Euromandk and men’s fall fashion looks for the September issue of GQ Germany.

1995 Chris Buzelli IL exhibited work in a fall show at Talon Gallery in Portland, OR. A freelance illustrator, he lives in NYC and teaches at RISD.

Gene Miao BArch 95 As chief designer for the Hong Kong architecture firm 1:1 (, Gene led a recent project to improve a vast, poorly lit handbag manufacturing facility in the Philippines. Through an ingenious trussed roof design, he and his team preserved the “largely free-form production floor while using natural light to reduce electricity spending and create a brighter, more attractive space for the workers.”

Both the haze and the frenzy in the exhibition Quiet/Loud will feel familiar to anyone who has ever been a new parent. “Created as a response to the demands of modern motherhood,” Jessica ( explains, Starlight Starbright and the other pieces in the show “strive to make sense of the dichotomy between asserting an individual’s identity with the onslaught of responsibility to others.” The series is on view at Providence’s ArtProv gallery through January 13.

Lisa Pfeiffer IL and Walter Craven 93 SC—who met in San Francisco, post-RISD— are the owners and visionaries behind Norton Factory Studios ( in Oakland. Developed by Walter, the facility offers highquality artist studio space and also houses a brewery, a distillery and a coffee roaster. Lisa organizes semi-annual open studios and also teaches classes.

1996 Rob Botsford IL brings his media design experience to the Boston office of Mad*Pow, where he’s now a senior visual experience designer. Sculptural work by Susan Freda SC was on view last summer in The Power of Paper at Gallery 4 in Tiverton, RI, and New Works by Gallery Artists at Chicago Art Source.

Joanna and Nicholas Evans-Cato PT welcomed their second child, Lucian Wind Cato, on September 5, 2017. The family—including big brother Casimir, now 3—lives in Brooklyn, and Nicholas teaches at RISD, in the recently renamed Experimental and Foundation Studies division. Joe McKendry IL—a longtime faculty member in RISD’s Illustration department— illustrated scenes from Jane Goodall’s life for the October Please email class notes submissions to:


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Working for the Japanese type design firm Morisawa, Cyrus Highsmith 97 GD (below center) has launched the Providence Drawing Office with assistance from June Shin MFA 17 GD (left) and Cem Eskinazi MFA 17 GD (right). His frequent trips to Japan have also led to wonderful new children’s books featuring his original drawings.


long attracted international attention for designs that are both original and ambitious. Hired right out of RISD by the Font Bureau — and later founding Occupant Press and Occupant Fonts —  he has created award-winning typefaces and illustrations for major magazines and newspapers like Rolling Stone and The Wall Street Journal. In 2012 Highsmith first connected with Morisawa, a large type design company in Osaka, Japan that invited him to serve as a judge for its Latin typeface competition. The company later licensed a number of his typefaces and began expressing interest in working with him more.

have a very positive impression of Providence and the school, and that made a big difference in their decision” to launch a satellite operation called the Providence Drawing Office. To establish the new venture, Highsmith recruited two recent grads who had been in the type design class that had so impressed him: Cem Eskinazi MFA 17 GD and June Shin MFA 17 GD. The team is now working to set up the studio, which is housed in the Design Office downtown. In figuring out how to create a bridge between the Japanese and western markets, they will design new Latin typefaces that reference Morisawa’s existing Japanese designs.

“Can we describe the syncopation of spaces in English typefaces well enough for an international audience?” “We had been talking a lot about the different ways Morisawa might begin producing type for the Latin market,” he explains. “But I didn’t really want to manage a large drawing office and I didn’t want to move to Japan,” says the designer, who teaches at RISD, loves his Providence studio and also didn’t want to uproot his wife, Anna (Galloway) Highsmith 97 ID, and young daughter. But as Highsmith was teaching a RISD graduate course in Graphic Design, he began rethinking the possibilities. “It was such a good class that I started to imagine… working with other designers instead of by myself. I realized that it could be really fun.” Fresh negotiations with Morisawa followed, their interest bolstered by ties they had developed with RISD through an exchange fellowship a few years earlier. “They 74

While both Eskinazi and Shin have a deep interest in type design, neither expected to be joining the specialized world of professional type designers so soon after graduation — nor did they expect to be working on a project with an international scope. A trip to Japan is on the horizon and they’re trying to learn elementary Japanese, but at the moment the team’s communication with the home office is aided by email, Skype and translators well versed in communicating the intricacies of the craft. Still, when talking about a written language (Japanese) that relies on typefaces utilizing character sets with thousands (versus hundreds) of glyphs, some things — like the rhythm between space and line — are hard to put into precise words. But that’s half the fun, the team agrees.

For more on Cyrus go to and

“Our discussions are quite different from those we have at RISD,” explains Highsmith. “Can we describe the syncopation of spaces in English typefaces well enough for an international audience? I thought I was pretty good at it, but I realize now that we don’t have a lot of language to describe these things.” This rare opportunity isn’t lost on Eskinazi, who’s from Turkey. “It’s amazing to realize that there are these people — type designers — working super intensely trying to understand each other’s cultures and be politically accurate, to determine how typefaces can be used as a software across platforms. Everything is new to us.” Highsmith echoes his curiosity and sense of wonder. “We really don’t know very much about Japanese type. Our task is to learn, then to make Latin type informed by it. I don’t know where that’s going to go but it’s an exciting place to start.”

studio photo by Sarah Verity 12 GD

TYPE D E S IG N E R Cyrus Highsmith 97 GD has

Regina Scully 97 PT Mindscapes, Regina’s solo exhibition of new paintings and works on paper, was on view in November and December at C24 Gallery in NYC. By continually changing her working environment with lighting, mood and orientation of the canvas while painting, the New Orleans-based artist pushes the boundaries of her practice.

1997 Andrew Freiband FAV, an assistant professor at RISD, has joined with others to organize “Artists’ Working Groups in NY, LA, RI and elsewhere to develop culture-rebuilding interventions and responses to the rising tide of white supremacy, patriarchy and nativist nationalism represented by the American far right.” In October

the Working Groups convened a public forum (“WTF Do We Do Now?”) at Brooklyn’s Pioneerworks to develop new ideas for action.

1998 20th Reunion October 5 – 7 In Classic Style: Hand It Down, Dress It Up, Wear It Out (Grand

Central Publishing, 2017), Kate Schelter GD presents her style philosophy—quality and simplicity—through watercolors and text. An artist, illustrator, creative director and stylist who splits her time between NYC and Cape Cod, she’s also the owner of the luxury brand consultancy ( that bears her name.

1999 Glen Baldridge PR and Elias Hansen exhibited together last spring at Halsey McKay Gallery in East Hampton, NY. Joe Bradley PT (see pages 32-37) Working together as Gibson + Recoder, Sandra Gibson FAV and Luis Recoder explore experimental film through installation and performance. They’re showing in the group exhibition Analog_Digital: Media (Ex)Changes at the Austrian Film Archive, Vienna, through January 28; ELECTRIC SHADOWS, their solo exhibition at Milton [PA] Art Bank, was open from August to October.

Liz Squillace 99 IL Liz masterminded this community art piece — appropriately titled Painted Stairway — to transform the Broad Street steps in Bridgeport, CT, where she lives. With support from a REGI grant, and in partnership with Bridgeport Generation Now, she and dozens of volunteers worked last summer to painstakingly prime, tape and paint the design, color by color. Liz owns Paradox Ink, a screenprinting and mural company responsible for creating a 180' mural in the Bridgeport Train Station (completed with help from Darcy Fangi 00 PR and Jaclyn Podlaski 08 PR ).

Building on his 2015 bestseller Deep Dark Fears, Fran Krause FAV released The Creeps (2017, Ten Speed Press), a new book poking fun at more of our

idiosyncratic anxieties. In addition to producing a web comic by the same name, he teaches in the character animation program at CalArts.

Dean Kelly 98 IL As lead story artist for Pixar’s new hit Coco, Dean says that he and his team were able to capture the true spirit of Mexican culture through copious on-site research in Oaxaca and Guadalajara. He’s now deeply engaged in his next cool project for Pixar: The Incredibles 2.

Kim West 98 PT (left) For several months last spring and summer, Kim transformed an abandoned 650,000-gallon pool in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in California into Lake Enchanto, a site-specific installation involving “a fragmented mural, a play-structure/easel with attached layer paintings, fire pits and light elements.” Dancers and an experimental sound artist performed at the June opening. Please email class notes submissions to:


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Victoria Jamieson 00 IL Following the success of her Newbery Honor-winning first graphic novel Roller Girl (2015), Victoria released another winner last September. Called All’s Faire in Middle School, her new graphic novel focuses on a homeschooled tween whose freespirited upbringing makes adapting to public school a bumpy ride. As The New York Times Book Review effuses: “The story has shades of Harriet the Spy, Monty Python and Peanuts, and the ending is tremendously satisfying without feeling false or unearned…. I dub thee brilliant.”

1999 continued Ryan Wallace IL showed sculptural work last summer in a two-person exhibition at the Elaine De Kooning House in East Hampton, NY. His work

Marisa Murrow 00 IL Inspired by her former RISD professor Wendy Seller 75 AE , Marisa took her work in a new direction at a summer residency at the Vermont Studio Center, pressing, rubbing and carving wildflowers. “I produced more than 25 works, made fast friends with people from all over the world and upon returning to Los Angeles, expanded my studio space,” she says of the experience.

was also included in New York New Work, the inaugural show at Albada Jelgersma gallery in Amsterdam. In addition, Ryan organized and showed in Brass Tacks, a summer show at Anat Ebgi in Los Angeles that also featured work by fellow alums Colby Bird MFA 04 PH, Patrick Brennan BArch 91 and Joseph Hart IL (see also facing page).

2000 Jochen Hartmann SC and Mat Brinkman 97* recently released the role-playing game Cave Evil: Warcults, a follow-up to their underground cult hit Cave Evil (2010 + 2014). For the past three years, Jochen has been involved in the design of a permanent installation at

Caroline (Adams) Saenger 01 PR (right) Cari showed Wash 6 (egg tempera on panel, 7 x 5") and other recent egg tempera landscapes in Someplace Else, a fall solo exhibition at Susan Calloway Fine Arts in Washington, DC. She and her husband and two children have been living in Frankfurt, Germany since 2015. 76

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Columbia University’s new neuroscience building. “I am working on some writing about it as well as teaching graduate degree courses at Columbia related to neuroscience and architecture,” he says. He also designed an exhibit about neuroscience work that was shown at the 2016 Istanbul Design Biennial.

Erin Bazos 00 GD As one of 30 designers invited to consider the global refugee crisis, Erin created this piece, Hope, for Freedom Manifesto: Humanity on the Move. The exhibition of posters was on view at the end of 2017 at the Musei Capitolini in Rome.

Sara Greenberger Rafferty PH (see page 17)


The City, a striking pair of paintings by Vincent Valdez IL, will be exhibited from July 14 to December 30 at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin. The artist lives in San Antonio and spoke at RISD in the fall.

Dan Colen PT (see page 13)

Daniel Bruce SC (see page 15)

As part of her progress towards her MA in Fine Art, Emma Copley PT showed work last July in the MA interim exhibition Axis. She is enrolled

at Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England. Alex Dodge PT (Brooklyn) showed new paintings last spring in The Infallibility of Lies, a one-person exhibition at Halsey McKay Gallery in East Hampton, NY.

Untitled (Face) (2017, collage, acrylic, enamel, oil crayon and graphite on linen, 96 x 72") and Rhoda (2016, collage, acrylic, enamel, oil crayon and graphite on linen, 108 x 84"). below: Joseph Hart 99 IL in his studio.



by Anna Cousins

top: images courtesy of the artist and Halsey McKay Gallery | right: photo by Anika Selhorst

AFTE R 15-OD D YEAR S of sustained practice, Joseph Hart 99 IL decided to try something new.

In fall 2016, he launched his Deep Color oral history project, a podcast series based on hourlong conversations with other artists, recorded in their studios. The talk wanders from technique, ethics, time management and the art market to the interplay between work and life (one of his favorite topics) — while also touching on everything from politics to hotdogs, Batman’s utility belt and baby rattlesnakes. He has posted 28 episodes so far, each one an insightful, largely unedited encounter that he likes to think of as “heartfelt artist talks that you can keep in your pocket.” An audio series about visual art may sound like a contradiction in terms, but “it’s an intentional disconnect,” Hart explains. “It’s more interesting and provocative to leave the visual component out in a project like this. I’m interested in the person and experiences behind the work.” Deep Color grew out of Hart’s deep connection to his creative community in Brooklyn. Since he launched his site with an episode featuring his longtime friend Ryan Wallace 99 PT, he has posted interviews with fellow graduates Glen Baldridge 99 PR , Pali Kashi 01 PT, David Kennedy Cutler 01 PT, Matt Kenny 03 PT, Andrew Kuo 99 GD, Matt Leines 02 IL and Sara Greenberger Rafferty 00 PH — and many non-RISD artists, too. “I love studio visits,” he admits. But Deep Color is also a fantastic resource for students and anyone interested in how artists work.

After RISD Hart put in a few years in commercial illustration. “Everything had to look like what it was, and be clever in some way. I wrestled with that,” he recalls. Since then he has shifted away from representation and into “materiality, line and touch.” He considers himself to be “a responsive artist”— someone who’s deliberate and disciplined in the studio but ready to respond to intuition. In the past two years alone, his work has been exhibited in NADA NEW YORK and in solo shows in NYC and San Francisco, along with group shows in Houston, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and London. In recent years, Hart says, watching his young daughter learn to draw has had a profound effect on his approach to work. “The pure joy and tactility of it, raw mark-making, not representative of anything”— her joy and freedom offer eye-opening lessons about loosening up and “not needing to fill every corner of the page.” As the conversations in Deep Color make clear, Hart is insatiably curious about why artists do what they do. Even though he’s a seasoned artist and he’s been teaching for years — most recently at City College of NY in Harlem —  he reveals that studio work can still be isolating, frustrating, overwhelming — since making art requires him to “face what I don’t understand.” Deep Color helps. Every time a fellow artist shares a story of struggle or problem solving, a little more light is shed on the mystery. “It connects to my belief that one of art’s core functions is sharing ideas and knowledge,” he says.

Tune in at or on iTunes @deepcolorpodcast.

“You know, Michael Jackson’s Thriller video scared the shit out of me when I was a kid,” Hart offers by way of explanation. “It wasn’t until I watched a ‘making-of’ documentary that I was able to digest it… and fall in love with it. Gaining an understanding of the humanity and all the moving parts behind the spectacle can be a gift.”


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2001 continued

CONVERGING CAREERS by Robert Albanese “I had no idea what I was getting into,” says Polan, who studied nursing at Rhode Island College while working to keep her studio practice going. In many ways, the work ethic she learned at RISD helped prepare her for the academic challenges of her new field — often to the surprise of her fellow nursing students. “Some assumed that art school must have been easier,” she notes, “but that’s not true at all. I studied for nursing all day but I didn’t stay up all night, too — like at RISD, when I was up working.” As Polan has spent more time in the studio in recent years, she has discovered fruitful synergies between these seemingly disparate professions. She finds that talking to patients about art helps distract them from pain and that the intensity of human interaction she experiences as a nurse also helps her creatively, especially in terms of writing more nuanced stories.

“Before coming to RISD I had no idea how much went into a book. There are all these crazy design puzzles to solve.” WH E N Jennifer Polan 01 IL began working at Rhode

Island Hospital (RIH) a decade ago, clearing the emotional space to sustain a studio practice proved to be a daunting challenge — especially since her passion is illustrating for children. Working 12-hour shifts as an inpatient trauma nurse, she supports people emerging from major surgeries or who have suffered catastrophic accidents. “It was hard at first to go home and try to sit down and draw pictures of cute cats,” Polan admits. “I couldn’t stop thinking about what my patients were going through.” But over time she discovered how to strike a balance between the trauma unit and the studio: she took to gardening at her new home outside Providence —  and she made some important changes in her media diet. “No medical procedurals. No Dexter or The Walking Dead. That helped.” Polan first got interested in children’s book illustration when working in a children’s book store in high school. “But before coming to RISD I had no idea how much went into a book,” she says. “There are all these crazy design puzzles to solve.” Faculty mentors such as Mary Jane Begin 85 IL and Judy Sue Goodwin Sturges 66 IL taught her how to tackle the complex design and storytelling challenges behind seemingly simple books. But the person who has had the most enduring influence on her work is the late Professor Tom Sgouros 50 IL , who taught her to make watercolor paintings with confidence. “Watercolor is all I do now and it’s all because of Tom,” she says. “I keep a framed picture of him in my studio.” After graduation Polan initially hired an agent and joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. But she didn’t feel the same focus or drive as she had at RISD. “I just wasn’t ready yet,” she says in retrospect. So when her family encouraged her to switch gears and pursue a career in nursing, she returned to school. 78

Find more of Jennifer’s work at

Polan’s empathy for others comes through in her current book project — one she originally began more than 16 years ago at RISD. Based on personal experience, Strawberry Pie draws connections between the comforts of home and a child’s response to a neighborhood flood. She has also tapped into an “amazing” critique group of professional illustrators she met through RISD Continuing Education. With Strawberry Pie near completion, Polan has begun to develop new projects and plans to hire an agent. She’s also working to rediscover the loose, liberating painting style she learned years ago from Sgouros — all while continuing to care for patients. Despite the stress and difficulty of nursing, her everyday successes in the trauma unit make her more confident as an illustrator, Polan says. “Nursing and illustration are so different, but the path I have taken works for me.”

Struck by the paradox of the Internet Archive in San Francisco—an imposing classical building that houses masses of intangible data— Katie Herzog PT (katieherzog. net) decided to capture its physicality in a brass rubbing. The resulting 84 x 10' work was exhibited last fall at Klowden Mann in Culver City, CA. Sonny Liew IL (see page 81) Jesse Ragan GD has launched an independent digital type foundry called XYZ Type (—with no connection to this magazine :) Based in Brooklyn, he works with Ben Kiel in St. Louis to create typefaces that are “conceptually interesting, clever and impeccably crafted.”

2002 Bridge Productions presented work by Emily Gherard IL— mixed-media pieces on linen and board—at last summer’s Seattle Art Fair. The artist also had a well-received solo show in late 2016 at Bridge Productions Gallery in Seattle, where she lives. Last June David Sieren GD was elected president of the Chicago chapter of the AIGA, one of the largest chapters in

Daniel Hertzberg 03 IL When National Geographic focused on addiction as part of National Recovery Month in September, it selected Daniel’s illustration of “interconnected brain circuitry for craving and pleasure” for the cover. An illustrator, teacher and hockey player living in Morristown, NJ, he creates illustrations for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Rolling Stone and Time, among other clients.

Anthony Dihle 04 GD Last July Anthony hosted a show and open studio at his printmaking space in Washington, DC, to celebrate his growing series of posters of more than 40 DC neighborhoods. He creates illustrations based on his own photographs and then screenprints them by hand. For more, go to

explore the possibilities, he created 35 new 10 x 8" works “to be loaned to patrons of the gallery,” who were encouraged to enjoy them by displaying them at home.


Emilie Lee 04 IL

Last August the Nehru Science Centre in Mumbai hosted The River Ganga: India’s Iconic Water Machine, excerpts of the multi-year project Anthony Acciavatti BArch undertook to map the transformation of the Ganges River. He teaches in Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation in NYC.

In honor of the American Prairie Reserve, Emilie exhibited Lone Bison (oil on linen, 12 x 6") and other plein-air oil paintings in a three-person show last fall at Old Main Gallery in Bozeman, MT. A portion of the proceeds from sales went to the Reserve in support of its mission to protect prairie lands and wildlife.

In October Ethan HayesChute PT and Christopher Kline PR, founding members of the experimental TV project Conglomerate, celebrated the theatrical premieres of their fourth installment (Block Four)

at venues in London, Berlin and Warsaw. Ethan’s skewed how-to show The New Domestic Woodshop and the other segments in the “30-minute channel-surfing experience” can be experienced online at

Sean Raspet SC (see page 15) the US. He will hold the office for two years. Chuck Stolarek FD (see page 16)

2003 15th Reunion October 5 – 7 “A couple of years ago I started a business called Reset (,” writes Raïssa Bump JM. “We teach quick and simple techniques to keep our bodies in working form, our minds attentive—and

to relieve common strains and stresses.” At the November Wellness for Makers retreat at Menla resort in the Catskills, she and other therapeutic practitioners helped artists learn to de-stress and recharge. In Painting Library, a solo show held last summer at Essex Art Center in Lawrence, MA, John C. Gonzalez IL wondered, “How can creativity or the act of making artwork sustainably fit within capitalism, external from market demands?” To

Please email class notes submissions to:

Check out the podcast Don’t Keep Your Day Job (7.23.2017) to hear Los Angeles-based designer David Wiseman FD talking about his work and his experience at RISD.

Leon Benn 04 IL Forest Babylon is among the effervescent views of nature Leon exhibited in Fields of Vision, his solo show at David B. Smith Gallery in Denver. He also had work in Nostalgisms at Able Baker Contemporary in Portland, ME, where he lives. // RISDXYZ

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own ancestral, present and future paths onto the surface of a world map tapestry.” Rocks, Slopes and Paper, a two-person exhibition on view last summer at Maryalice Huggins Gallery in Newport, RI, featured paintings by Gillian Stoneburner PT.

2005 Last April Jamie Allen IL devoted her month at Chalk Hill Artist Residency in Sonoma, CA to “reading, exploring, drawing in my sketchbook and painting in the barn.” Before returning to her home base in Honolulu, HI, she showcased the gorgeous mixed media work she created using natural dyes on watercolor paper.

Chellis Baird 05 TX For the painting technique she calls the “hypnotic twist,” Chellis dips fabric in handmade waxed pigments and sculpts it into a “textural landscape of abstract color.” Hot Wired (detail, 7 x 5') —  “inspired by the tech landscape we currently weave through to build our own colorful worlds” — was on display last fall at (appropriately) the Google offices in Chelsea, augmented by lights projected by Alida Camp 05 ID. Watch for Chellis’ work in Canvas, an upcoming art app.

2004 continued A panel of judges selected an oil painting of Common Eiders created by Rebekah Lowell IL for the 2017 Maine Duck Stamp— the third year the Maine-based artist has won first place in the competition. And it runs in the family: both of her daughters won first place in their age

groups in the 2017 Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program. For the World Culture Festival: Journeys held in November at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Natalia Nakazawa PT (NYC) presented Our Stories of Migration, a collaborative tapestry project in which “participants embroidered their

Saewon Min 05 ID + Ranhee (Joo) Butler 05 ID On a mission to make kids’ birthday parties a snap for busy parents, Saewon and Ranhee — who have five kids between the two of them — launched Merrilulu ( in January 2017. The online boutique specializes in quality party decorations with kid-favorite themes like Once Upon a Time and Trip to the Moon. The two designers, who both worked “in the baby industry” prior to launching Merrilulu, are based in NYC and NJ, respectively.

In 2017 Mark Guarraia ID became creative director of products and user experience at Teva Pharmaceuticals, where he and his team work to improve patient outcomes through connected tech. He also continues to teach at RISD and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. In An Island Is Just An Island, a series of works in gouache, pastels and charcoal on paper, Regina Mamou PH “explores the construct of physical boundaries and the physicality of space.” She showed the work last fall in On Going Home, a group exhibition at Charlie James Gallery in Los Angeles, where she lives. Last July Emily B. Snedden Yates CR became the new special projects manager at Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum, which is famous for its collection of medical oddities and antique devices. She curated Connective Tissue, a show of stunning paper

Margarita Alvarez 08 AP Fans of the hit series Project Runway got to see Margarita compete alongside 15 other designers in season 16, which aired in the fall on Lifetime. After working as a designer in Los Angeles for 10 years, the native of Puerto Rico managed to stay in the competition — which this year included a focus on plus-size couture — until the very last episode.

quilling work by Lisa Nilsson 85 IL that was on view through January 4; in the past year Emily also exhibited her personal glove collection in All Gems, a solo show at Practice Gallery in Philadelphia. For a peek into her fascination with the darker side of medicine, check out Welcome To The Morbid Girls Club in Nylon (9.23.16).

2006 Vajramantrabhiru, a towering (21 x 21 x 108") geometric spire Matthew Mosher FD made of weathered steel, is installed at the Amtrak station in Fredericksburg, VA through September. Imperfect Square, a sitespecific project by Alexander Rosenberg GL, was on view in Philadelphia (where he lives) in mid September as part of Monument Lab, a multi-artist project. He’s also working collaboratively with Caroline Woolard MFA 06 GL, Helen Lee MFA 06 GL and Lika Volkova on an ongoing project called Carried on Both Sides; the team spoke at the Met last summer, and Art 21 made a short film about the project. Leah Wolff PT and Guy Ben-Ari, who run the arts organization Meta Meta Meta LLC (, curated Pattern Interrupt at Agency, their newly opened


// undergraduate class notes

project space in Brooklyn. Karen Lederer MFA 12 PR was one of the three artists exhibiting in the summer show, which examined “the narrative potential of abstraction through the use of pattern.” A number of alumni contributed work to a fall fundraising exhibition in support of programming at Agency.

2007 Sarah (Laskow) AP and Thomas Sheridan BArch 08 welcomed their son Ronan Sheridan in April 2017. The family is “over the moon and happily living in Brooklyn.”

2008 10th Reunion October 5 – 7 Julia Bland PT (see page 17) In recognition of his design for the Kwik Set leather crafting press, which enables leather crafters to cut leather, imprint/ emboss designs and set hardware with 20-plus customized dies and adapters, Erik DeMelo ID earned a 2016–17 Silver A’ Design Award in the category of prosumer products, tools and machinery design. Hao-Wen (Fanny) Chen ID, a vital member of the concept and development team and Erik’s spouse, traveled with him to Como, Italy in June to accept the award. The two live in Little Neck, NY.

Artists Erica Henderson 08 FAV (left), Anne Szabla 10 IL (work below) and Sonny Liew 01 IL (below left) each collected coveted Eisner Awards at last summer’s Comic-Con in San Diego.


the boisterous big bash in San Diego — wrapped up last July, Sonny Liew 01 IL , Anne Szabla 10 IL and Erica Henderson 08 FAV stood out among the world’s best creators of comic books, characters, films and sci-fi fantasy. After being nominated for a whopping six Eisner Awards — the Oscars of comic books presented each year at Comic-Con — Liew collected three: for Best Writer/Artist, Best Publication Design and Best US Edition of International Material — Asia, all for his phenomenal graphic novel The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (Pantheon). Presented as an autobiography of a fictional Singaporean comic book artist named Charlie Chan, it offers a revisionist history of the citystate and has proven to be something of a sensation since its publication in the US in early 2016. “I’m trying to make history more inclusive rather than championing a competing version,”

explains Liew, who was born in Malaysia but has lived in Singapore most of his life. The standard story about the rise of Singapore that kids learn in school “is part of the truth,” he acknowledges, “but if you leave out the alternative histories it’s a less accurate picture.” When Liew first began the book, he imagined it would mostly appeal to fellow Singaporeans interested in reexamining their own past. But once it surfaced overseas and praise poured in, he realized that he had created something with a more universal appeal. Still, he “was very surprised” to earn the most Eisner nominations of anyone in 2017. “I was hoping for one or two, but six was nothing I could imagine,” he told a New York Times reporter. Szabla, who works as a concept artist at Harmonix in Boston and draws her comics late into the night, earned an Eisner for Best Webcomic of 2017, along with the Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer award. She publishes new episodes of Bird Boy — about an undersized boy desperate to prove his worth to his tribe — every Thursday. Also a standout at Comic-Con, Henderson earned the Best Publication for Teens award for the Marvel series The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. Proving to be something of a phenomenon since it first resurfaced in 2015, Squirrel Girl offers a smart hybrid of edgy indie comics and content aimed at kids. The combination of Ryan Q. North’s writing and Henderson’s artwork offers a fresh take on body image, gender biases, comic book tropes and the meaning of power. “When I was a kid in the ’90s, I wasn’t really into superheroes,” Henderson has said in recent interviews. “You would pick up an X-Men comic and have no idea what was going on. I hated that.” But at the same time she started paying attention to some of the appealing indie comics that were beginning to surface. A couple of years after graduation, Henderson was working as a freelance illustrator and dabbling in the world of comic books when Marvel “emailed about Squirrel Girl out of the blue,” she

Find out more about Sonny at, Anne at and Erica at

says. “It was exciting to get anything from a major company,” she admits, and since the reintroduction of a comic book character first created in 1992 — conceived of as a girl with the seemingly useless power of being able to get squirrels to follow her commands — was not likely to “get a lot of scrutiny, there was real freedom to just go for it… and try something light, fun.” Now two years into it, the North-Henderson collaboration is attracting a growing audience.

“There was real freedom to just go for it... and try something light, fun.” Erica Henderson 08 FAV speaking about her Squirrel Girl series

Henderson also earned recognition for Archie’s Jughead, a comic she draws with Derek Charm that won for Best Humor Publication. In accepting the accolade, she thanked her late father, an Archie comic book writer whose love of the genre eventually rubbed off on her, though he died just before she started getting involved in the industry. Co-author Chip Zdarsky, who couldn’t be at Comic-Con to accept the Eisner, sent a speech applauding Henderson’s and Charm’s contributions. “They’re two of the best artists in the business,” he said, “and every company should be showering them in money — ha, ha, just kidding. This is comics!” // RISDXYZ

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SWEET SOOT OF LIFE by Hannah Goldfield TH E ON LY TH I NG MOR E I M PR E SS IVE than the fact that Anthony Esteves 09 SC (who is 31) built a house

from scratch and painstakingly restored another on his family compound on coastal Maine is the fact that he’d never done it before. This is not to say he hadn’t had any training, but it was not the kind you might assume.

Susanna (Vagt) Chapman 09 IL + Jessica Phoenix 05 IL Susanna and Jessica collaborated on the well-received book The Girl Who Ran: Bobbi Gibb, The First Woman to Run the Boston Marathon (Compendium Incorporated, 2017). Susanna created the illustrations to accompany text by Kristina Yee and Frances Poletti, while Jessica handled the art direction and design.


2008 continued In October Elie Glyn FD began a new job as the inaugural assistant director of exhibitions at the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, MA. Hayley Morris FAV (pages 30-31) If you haven’t yet, it’s time you Got a Girl Crush. With creative direction by Amanda Stosz PH , a Brooklyn-based photographer, bike rider, cat fancier and dog buddy who joined the team in 2015, the worthy blog and annual magazine ( is “about women, by women, for everyone.” Evolution, a solo exhibition of colorful acrylic works by Boston-based artist Sophy Tuttle IL, was on view in October at Gallery Z in Lowell, MA.

If it takes a village to raise a child, Esteves and O’Rourke are upping the ante by essentially building their own village. Currently under construction, just behind the Cape, is a classic New England barn — to be finished in soot-paint, of course — which will serve as the family library, home to their collection of more than 7,000 books. This story originally appeared in The New York Times (9.19.17) and is reprinted here with permission.

For more go to, and

Kathrine Zeren AP is the creative director behind an eponymous line (kathrine of “ethically and sustainably produced men’s accessories and apothecary products.”

2009 Since 2014 Open Style Lab (OSL) has been working to “raise awareness and build accessible wearables” for people with physical disabilities, explains Executive

left: photos of Esteves family compound by Greta Rybus

At RISD, he studied not architecture but sculpture, “which I think now comes through in my work more so than ever,” he says. “I got out of school and figured out over a couple years that the building process was really like my studio practice.” Other than that, he was armed with only a deep and abiding appreciation for the architecture of both New England and Japan (having grown up in the former and spent time in the latter) and a passion for research. When the property was purchased, it had just one structure: a 1754 Cape Cod that had been dismantled and rebuilt. He restored it not according to strict historical preservation standards —“I feel like it’s so constricting, and people do things just for the yield,” he says — but, rather, to his “vision of what a historic building should be.” Esteves was interested, he explains, in “getting it to a place where it’s informed by the entirety of New England architecture — things that I find interesting — so that it’s completely about the New England aesthetic but it isn’t tied to the historic preservation of this building exactly.” This meant not only poring through books and historical records but also learning from older local-builder friends (including one nonagenarian), who passed down information and techniques that had been passed down to them. The finished Cape is now occupied by his mother, who moved up from Rhode Island, where Esteves was raised. Mere feet away, he lives with his partner, Julie O’Rourke 08 TX , a native of Maine who is also an artist, and their young son, Diogo, in a house entirely of his own design. This one uses New England as a jumping-off point but also incorporates some of his favorite Japanese techniques: traditional colonial clapboard siding, for example, which is a dying art in Maine. “The vinyl

salesman is pretty big up here,” Esteves says with a laugh. It’s painted black, using a Japanese-style, fermented soot-based paint that he makes himself. And though the dimensions of the “soot house,” as the family has affectionately named it, “are in relation to very common New England homes”— from the pitch of the roof to the volume of the rooms — part of it is built with what he calls “burn boards,” slats of cedar that have been charred in the style of a Japanese practice called shou sugi ban. Also inspired by the Japanese penchant for efficiency, Esteves carefully figured out how to heat the entire house with a single, tiny stove that burns just half a cord of wood each winter.

Brooklyn, she’s represented by Bridget Donahue in NYC. Anne Szabla IL (see page 81)

2011 Morgan Blair 08 IL (above) In September and October Morgan (Ridgewood, NJ) showed new paintings (acrylic and sand on canvas over panel) in TL;DR, a solo exhibition at The Hole in NYC. This 4 x 4-foot piece has a 63-word title that begins: When I Saw Gwen Stefani’s Miniature White Chocolate Kitchen My Jaw Dropped, All My Hair and Teeth Fell Out, and I Impulsively Started My Own Web-Based Lifestyle Branding Pop-Up Fragrance Experience…

Director Grace Jun GD. Last summer OSL hosted its fourth fashion showcase at Parsons School of Design in NYC, focusing on designs for wheelchair users who live in urban environments. OSL’s human-centered process has been attracting plenty of attention in the media, with recent articles appearing in Vogue, The Huffington Post and The New York Times.

2010 Last August Jessi Reaves PT showed playful, deconstructed furniture at UPenn’s Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. Based in

Last April Brian Dimmock ID was a contestant on Forged in Fire, a series on the History channel that pits metalworkers against each other to forge bladed weapons. He teaches at Connecticut College and Three Rivers Community College in Norwich, CT.

Victo Ngai 10 IL The Society of Illustrators selected Victo’s debut children’s book, Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion (Millbrook Press; text by Chris Barton), for its 2017 Dilys Evans Founders Award. In the fall her stunning pictures were included in The Original Art, an annual exhibition of artwork for children’s books at the SOI headquarters in NYC. Victo works as a freelance illustrator and is based in Los Angeles.

Kayla Mattes 11 TX + Justin Seibert 11 SC With “the interconnectivity of the web” as their starting point, Kayla and Justin ( in Portland, OR) create “immersive visualizations that rely on social engagement.” The Shape of Things, a project funded by the Oregon Arts Commission, turns a 24-question quiz ( into a uniquely shaped object for each participant; it was presented last fall in Art at the Margins at Hunter College in NYC and in I AM ERICA at New Wight Gallery in Los Angeles.

Ashley Zelinskie 10 GL (left) Ashley’s metallic sculptural self-portraits are more revealing than most: they spell out her own genetic code. Last summer she explored “how we’re becoming one with our technology” in the Bunker Gallery group show at Sotheby’s New York. At the beginning of the year her solo show Reverse Abstraction was on view at TORCH Gallery in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Ashley works out of her studio in Brooklyn. Please email class notes submissions to:


winter 2018


Misha Kahn 11 FD In Midden Heap Misha embraced the illogical and the irreverent as he transformed Friedman Benda gallery in NYC into a delightfully inventive alternate reality. His wellreceived solo show was on view at the gallery from late October to mid December (see also page 1).

paintings last spring in Lady, her first solo show. The exhibition was at Schumacher Gallery at Westover School in Middlebury, CT. In the fall Mackenzie Younger PT presented Functional Paintings—acrylic canvases paired with embroidered jackets—at Special Special in NYC, where he lives.


Play With Me: Dolls, Women and Art (Laurence King Publishing, 2017), a new book by Grace Banks. Jacqueline Siefert AP ( exhibited portraits and other

Joyce Chen PT/MAT 14 is enjoying her first year of teaching visual arts at Peddie School, an independent residential high school in Hightstown, NJ. “This school might be of interest to the RISD audience,” she writes, “given its ties to a diverse international community and dedication to a world-class secondary arts

Ben Nadler 13 IL

2012 The Furniture Society selected Providence-based designer Topher Gent FD (tophergent. com) as one of four designers to show work in its booth at last spring’s ICFF 2017 in NYC. 84

// undergraduate class notes

Working primarily in steel, he balances craft and technology to produce limited-edition furniture and objects. Photographs from the Real Dolls series by Martine Gutierrez PR are featured in

Katie Stout 12 FD For Side Dish, her fall solo show at R & Company in NYC, Katie transformed the gallery into a playful immersive environment with works from girls, her series of new “lamps, mirrors, tables and seating, each composed of unique female forms posed in provocative stances.”

left: photo by Joe Kramm / R & Company

The Chicago-based cartoonist and illustrator says he learned a lot about the art of storytelling by collaborating with his father Steven Nadler, a professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, on Heretics! The Wondrous (and Dangerous) Beginnings of Modern Philosophy (2017, Princeton University Press). The illustrated intro to 17th-century philosophical breakthroughs is being critically embraced as both “original” and “thoughtful.”

For the Restless Youth cover of VICE (May 2017), Vice Media Art Director Kitron Neuschatz CEC GD (kitronzneuschatz. com) started with a protest photo from 1969 to show how little things have changed in 50 years. “We think, in a way, it represents our current state: We’ve been backed into a corner, and there’s no one else to turn to, except ourselves, our generation.”

2014 Emmett Barnacle GL and Ruby Dorchester GL both showed glass work in Intersections, Architecture and Nature, a four-person exhibition held in the fall at the Wheeler School’s Chazan Gallery in Providence.

Bianca Diaz 13 IL For her first illustrated children’s book, The One Day House (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2017, with text by Julia Durango), Bianca worked with Charlesbridge art director Susan Mallory Sherman 74 CR (see page 65) throughout the process. The inspiring story of neighbors coming together to help each other was a Junior Library Guild selection for fall 2017.

Lyndsey Burke GD and her partner, Sebastian NavarroDelaney, have launched Risolve (, a Risograph printing and design studio in Lincoln University, PA. Work by photographer Rachel Jump PH, who’s living in Baja California Sur, Mexico after completing a year-long

Katy Horan 13 IL Katy worked with author Taisia Kitaiskaia to put an enchanting spin on literature in their new book Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers (Seal Press, October 2017). Through beautiful paintings and poetic text, the pair reimagines visionary writers — Virginia Woolf, Mira Bai, Toni Morrison, Emily Dickinson and several more — as witches.

residency in Chicago, was selected for a spate of group shows in 2017, including the National Photography Fellowship Competition at Midwest Center for Photography in Wichita, KS, The Photo Review 2017 Competition at Gallery 1401 at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Thread Count at CO-OP, Unseen Amsterdam in the

Netherlands and Prime, which was shown as part of the 2017 Filter Photo Festival in Chicago. Late last summer, Matthew Lawrence CR showed the 9 x 9-foot painting All New Tuesday Night (oil, latex and grommets on quilting fabric) in the group show Fantasy at Day and Night Projects in Atlanta. Matthew lives in Exeter, NH.

education—including college-level courses to prepare students to pursue the arts at universities and specialty schools.” Guy Kozak IL (Verona, NJ) is working on a new webseries called Picture Show ( a collection of short, impressionistic video portraits of artists and their work. “My hope is to promote both emerging and established artists and offer a unique, intimate look into their processes and personalities,” he says. David M. Craig 13 PR and Katie Bell MFA 11 PT are profiled in two of the early episodes.

Estella Ng 14 PT Estella is pleased to have returned to Singapore, where she and Liquan Liew work together as Ripple Root ( This spring they’re showing their latest paintings — “carefree works reflecting themes of nature and wildlife” — at Brunswick Street Gallery in Melbourne, Australia, from April 4 –17. Please email class notes submissions to:


winter 2018



R IG HT AFTE R G RAD UATION I tried working in the art world, but found it deeply dissatisfying. I was overlooked for many positions, felt overqualified for ones I couldn’t even get (like as a gallery receptionist) and ended up being underpaid for what I was getting. After almost a year of this, I decided to broaden my job search. Somehow I landed a job as the director of operations at a cyber security and computer forensics consulting firm, and as a conference director for the Journal of Law & Cyber Warfare, a peer-reviewed publication on cyber warfare and the law. While I was working at these companies, I decided that I wanted to pursue a law degree — specifically focused on public interest law and government

prosecution — and am now enrolled at Fordham University School of Law’s evening division in NYC. I have also recently started working as a paralegal at the Appeals Bureau of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. I’m hoping to pursue prosecution of major crimes — including special victims cases —  ideally as an assistant US attorney (federal) or assistant district attorney (state). In applying to Fordham, I wrote about how my RISD education prepared me for law school. I discussed the critical thinking and critique skills I developed and the work ethic I adopted. (Now that I have a full-time job and am attending law school at night, I often think back to my days working late at RISD!) I also referenced the elements of social justice that originally motivated me to pursue painting — and now law. Since I’m excited to have embarked on a unique path after earning a Painting degree, I would love to serve as a resource to current students or recent graduates who feel similarly frustrated with the lack of opportunities in the fine art world or who discover their interests are pulling them in other directions. 86

For contact info and more, go to

Nashra Balagamwala 16 IL With her new board game Arranged!, Nashra ( is both protesting and raising awareness of the ongoing practice of arranged marriage in her native country of Pakistan. “I’m a playful person, and the game is meant to be lighthearted,” she says. “But the first step to fixing any problem is to acknowledge that there is a problem and have a conversation about it.”



Denali Tiller FAV recently earned a $25,000 post-production grant from the LEF Foundation to expand Sons and Daughters of the Incarcerated, her RISD senior thesis film, into a feature-length film. The moving documentary explores the effect of parental incarceration on the lives of three young boys growing up in Rhode Island.

Victor Gan FAV (Alhambra, CA) has welcomed the success of Life As It Is on the festival circuit. His 29-minute senior thesis film earned best drama in Brown University’s 2017 Ivy Film Festival, one of the largest student film festivals in the world. It was also screened at the Palm Springs International ShortFest and the Boston International Film Festival.

Cheyenne Julien PT (see page 12) Last summer Tomi Okuno IL (Pasadena, CA) was a finalist for Nisei Week Queen 2017, an honorary role in the annual Japanese festival celebrated in Los Angeles.

2017 After landing one of five paid, one-year fellowships at Chronicle Books in San Francisco, Jamie Chen GD is learning a lot working at the publishing house, focusing on design for marketing and taking part in weekly design workshops.

Rachel Himes BRDD 15 IL In The Princess and the Peas (Charlesbridge, April 2017), her debut children’s book, Rachel reimagines the princess living in 1950s South Carolina. Kirkus Reviews praises her mixed-media illustrations (acrylic, watercolor, pencil, ink and collage) as well as her “heartwarming story” about a “strong and embracing African-American community on the brink of the civil rights movement.” After earning both a BFA in Illustration from RISD and a BA in Religious Studies at Brown, Rachel works as a museum educator and author/ illustrator based in Brooklyn.

Zaiwei Zhang 17 IL Zaiwei is one of 17 RISD Illustration majors to show work in the Society of Illustrators’ Student Scholarship 2017 Exhibit, held last spring at the Museum of Illustration in NYC. Pieces like Bathhouse Mao (acrylic gouache on paper, 17.5 x 11.25") earned him top honors as the 2017 Nancy Lee Rhodes Roberts Scholar. Clarissa Liu 18 IL , Natasha Sharpe FAV, Samrath Kaur IL and Gracey Zhang 16 IL also earned recognition for their work.

Just five months after moving to Long Island City in Queens, Annelise Laflamme PT participated in Fear, a horrorthemed group exhibition at LIC Arts around Halloween. She’d made the ink drawings during a post-graduation artist residency at the Burren College of Art in Ireland.

2018 Dennis Krawec FD got the surprise of his life last spring when the team behind WIX, a website-building platform, chose him as one of three winners of their Stunning Awards competition. His exuberant site ( won him an all-expenses-paid trip to the Maldives, where he and his boyfriend enjoyed the gorgeous beaches and

tropical weather and “felt like Kardashians.” Last March Justin Seow FD earned one of two major honors at the Philadelphia Furniture Show. Praising his Chair from a Third Culture as “a wonderfully self-contained thesis on being a first-generation American,” jurors named a tie (Justin and Julia Michalski) for the first time ever in the annual Emerging Artist Competition.

Gina Baek 16 IL In the new illustrations Gina is creating for The Classic Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes (her second book for Cider Mill Press, due out in May), she fully embraces her love of fairy tales and children’s stories. The illustrator works out of her studio in Providence, using pencil, watercolor and digital media to create evocative images.

Please email class notes submissions to:


Anthony DiStefano 56 ID of Potomac, MD on 5.6.17.

Siegfried Snyder 64 SC of Syracuse, NY on 6.16.17.

Claire Battles 37 AP of Los Angeles, CA on 4.21.17.

Barbara Scalo 56 GD of Eaton, CT on 7.29.17.

Nancy Wolf 64 PT of New York, NY on 6.30.17.

John O.C. McCrillis 39 GD of Branford, CT on 10.1.17.

Janice Doctor 58 GD of South Portland, ME on 6.10.17.

Frank Best 66 PH of Cotuit, MA on 7.7.16.

Helen Rice 42 AP of Groton, CT on 7.6.17.

Nina Lavin 58 SC of Wellesley, MA on 4.8.17.

Wendy Andrews-Bolster 67 PT of Jamestown, RI on 12.2.15.

Robert Haigh 48 PT of Sunnyvale, CA on 6.13.17.

Barbara Fellows 59 IL of Hillcrest Heights, MD on 9.27.14.

Thomas Bates 67 GD of Warren, RI on 8.18.17.

Frances Highsmith 50 IL of Fort Atkinson, WI on 4.23.17.

Raymond Hartley 59 MD of Farmington, CT on 7.13.17.

David Fowler 69 AE of Montpelier, VT on 7.16.17.

Calvin Nickerson 50 GD of Chino Hills, CA on 10.13.14.

Richard Long 59 Arch of Newport, RI on 2.21.17.

Gail Whitsitt-Lynch 71 PH of East Providence, RI on 9.2.17.

Robert Goodwin 51 TX of Hampton, MA on 5.12.17.

Martin Donnelly 60 Arch of Warwick, RI on 7.23.17.

Mary Shinnick 74 AE of Northville, MI on 7.18.17.

Gladys Johnston 51 TX of Wayne, IL on 9.18.17.

Susan Garbarino 60 IL of Mystic, CT on 6.29.14.

Grant David Terrell 79 PT of Algonquin, IL on 12.15.16.

George Dunn 52 TX of Spartanburg, SC on 5.10.17.

Martin Roslyn 61 IA of Virginia Beach, VA on 10.11.17.

Holly Bell 82 TX of Melville, NY on 7.9.17.

Elaine Miskunas 52 GD of Manchester, NH on 8.15.17.

Robert Keeler 62 ID of Grand Rapids, MI on 10.2.17.

Victoria Miller 88 SC of Searsport, ME on 3.17.16.

Mary Belmore 53 GD of Rockport, MA on 7.15.17.

George Potter 62 PT of Dublin, Ireland on 6.29.17.

Jonathan Fried 90 PH of Spring Valley, NY on 8.11.17.

Kenneth Lane 54 AD of New York, NY on 7.20.17.

Adele Schonbrun 62 IL of Fort Collins, CO on 5.28.17.

Gregory Buyalos 93 FAV of Toronto, Canada on 6.8.17.

Leila O’Leary 54 AE of Jamestown, RI on 8.7.17.

Daniel Cahill 64 Arch of Fernandina Beach, FL on 6.12.17.

Phyllis Curtis 02 IL of Coventry, RI on 2.26.17.

Joyce Skerritt 54 TX of Hamden, CT on 5.15.17.

Rachel Doane 64 LA of Louisville, KY on 5.19.17.

Stephanie Cheng 04 GD of Honolulu, HI on 9.16.17. // RISDXYZ

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moving forward

//  graduate class notes

captured the light of Cape Cod in Interludes: New Photographs, a solo show of 50 new prints. The series was presented last fall at Bristol Community College’s Grimshaw-Gudewicz Gallery in Fall River, MA.

1975 In recognition of his outstanding record as a scholar, educator and artist, Jim Stone MFA PH has been promoted to the rank of Distinguished Professor at the University of New Mexico. His numerous books are used as textbooks around the world and his work is in the collections of Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum, among many others.

Daphne Minkoff MFA 91 PT (above) House Fire (collage, and oil on canvas over board, 20 x 24") is one of the arresting paintings Daphne showed last summer at the Seattle Art Museum Gallery in her home city. The exhibition Structural Configuration brought together five artists whose work considers architecture and the built environment.

1972 Last summer and fall Muriel Angelil MAE (Amesbury, MA) exhibited monotypes in Making an Impression at the Newburyport [MA] Art Association and in two shows juried by the Monotype Guild of New England—one at the Hopkinton [MA] Center for the Arts and another at the Saco [ME] Museum.

1974 Providence-based photographer Kathie Florsheim MFA PH

Maryjean Viano Crowe MFA 81 PH As one of 16 artists to participate in a 2016 residency program at the Fiore Art Center in Jefferson, ME, Maryjean exhibited mixed-media compositions there last summer. Her work was also included in Land and Sea at Maine Farmland Trust in Belfast. Dress Code Narratives, Maryjean’s series exploring the complex interaction between Native Americans and European settlers, was featured online recently in the Maine Arts Journal. 88

// graduate class notes

After serving for 30 years as director of the Indochina Arts Partnership (IAP), C. David Thomas MFA PR handed the reins to Nhung Walsh in fall 2016. David founded the IAP in 1987 to promote educational and cultural exchange between the US and Vietnam.

1978 Cliff Garten Studio, the Venice, CA, firm where Cliff Garten MFA CR is principal, won the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network (PAN) Year in Review 2017 Award for Ethereal Bodies 8. The ensemble of anthropomorphic, LED-lit sculptures stands at the entrance to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. Last fall the studio installed Aquileans—a series of 10 sculptures inspired by Alaskan wildlife—at Seawalk along the Juneau, AK waterfront. Last spring, as an artistin-residence at McColl Center for Art + Innovation in Charlotte, NC, Rebecca Kamen MFA SC worked with brain injury patients at the city’s Levine Children’s Hospital to create Constellation (Tree of Life), a layered project that turned kids’ voices into patterned prints.

1982 NYC-based painter Anne Sherwood Pundyk MFA PT drew on personal and professional experience to write The Beholder’s Stare, an essay published at artcritical. com (8.22.17).

1984 Pollen (acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24"), a pixelated painting by Jim Kociuba MAE (jim, was included in the August 2017 show New England Collective VIII at Galatea Fine Arts in Boston.

1985 Exquisite paper creations by RI-based artist Wendy Wahl MAE were exhibited last spring in a group show at Kaller Fine Arts in Washington, DC. By the Book featured eight artists who use discarded books in their artwork; for one of her pieces, Laid Open, Wendy curled and shaped strips of encyclopedia pages into a mesmerizing 30 x 40" composition.

Brad Buckley MFA 82 SC Brad co-edited Who Runs the Artworld: Money, Power and Ethics (Libri Publications, 2017), a collection of essays examining the “complex web of relationships between highprofile curators, collectors, museum trustees and corporate sponsors,” as well as the influence of the 2008 global financial crisis and the Occupy movement. Brad is a professor of contemporary art and culture at the University of Sydney’s College of the Arts in Australia.

Sylvan Adams MAE 91 As an art teacher at Saint Francis High School in Mountain View, CA, Sylvan works with Ben Schumaker and the team at The Memory Project to bring hope into the lives of vulnerable children around the world. “Every year The Memory Project sends us photographs of children from the country we’re paired with (so far, Nicaragua, Bangladesh, Ukraine and the Philippines). They share insight into their tragedy, losses or abject poverty. My students and I discuss the culture and challenges faced by these children.” The CA-based students then paint a portrait of one of the kids and send a personal message and photo of themselves. To see a moving video of children receiving their completed portraits —  or to get involved — visit



Marsha Trattner MFA SC (, who hand-forges beautiful pans, bowls and lighting fixtures in Brooklyn, took part in a Martin Luther King, Jr., remembrance celebration at The Riverside Church of NY. For her project Torpedoes into Plowshares, she transformed a 100kg high-explosive torpedo into shovels that were then used to plant seeds as part of the church’s community outreach. The project took place in spring and summer 2017.

Shipwreck aficionados and other visitors to Horseneck Point Lifesaving Station in Westport, MA were delighted with the displays Chris Clarendon MFA GD (Tiverton, RI) created for a summer exhibition. His panels for Notorious Shipwrecks off Westport! featured artifacts, narratives and nautical charts detailing three major wrecks that happened nearby.

between art object and active living environment” was presented in a two-part exhibition at Regen Projects in Los Angeles. New Art Centre in Salisbury, UK, hosted The Flat Field Works, her recent series encompassing sculpture, painting and textiles. Andrea also showed with Tom Burr in concrete realities, a summer show at Bortolami gallery, NYC.

1991 Philadelphia-based photographer Judy Gelles MFA PH earned a travel grant from the Center for Emerging Visual Artists to spend a week in Yakima, WA, where she

Mary Kokol MFA 87 PH In The Garden Ephemeral, a fall show at Boston’s Gallery NAGA, Mary exhibited a new photographic series of frozen flowers, including Yellow Garden, Melting Lake. She collects blossoms from her own gardens and those of friends and family, then freezes them before photographing them in sunlight to create permanent evidence of two temporary states.

continued her Fourth Grade Project. Photographs from that series were exhibited last summer at the Center for

Emerging Visual Artists in Philadelphia, and in the fall at the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, PA.

New work by Andrea Zittel MFA SC (Joshua Tree, CA) investigating the “symbiosis

1989 Last winter and spring fine artist Janine Antoni MFA SC and choreographer Stephen Petronio presented Entangle, a three-part multidisciplinary series at Skidmore College’s Tang Museum in Saratoga Springs, NY. Created through their ongoing collaboration, the works combined action, video and installation, exploring the boundaries between artist, dancer and audience.

Linda Leslie Brown 87 MAE Salted Pink (10 x 8 x 9") is among Linda’s recent mixedmedia sculptures charged with allusions to the body and “biased toward growth, change and falling apart.” The work was exhibited last fall in Parts and Holes, a solo show at Wheelock College’s Towne Art Gallery in Boston. She’s a professor of fine arts at nearby Suffolk University.

Please email class notes submissions to:


winter 2018


as assistant director of the RISD Museum, before heading up the Providence Preservation Society and then serving as deputy director of the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, FL. Kara Walker MFA PT/PR (see page 12)

1996 Brian McClave MFA PH, Sergio Purtell 80 PH and Roei Greenberg showed landscape photography in Location, Location, Location, a summer exhibition at Fordham University in Bronx, NY.

1997 Nermin Kura MFA CR participated in two shows held in conjunction with the fall Istanbul Biennial: her ceramics were shown at the Istanbul Depo and her photographs

Virginia Unseld MAE 93 Virginia’s pastel painting Rushing Water (12 x 16") won best of show in the 51st annual National Greeley Art Exhibition, held last April in Greeley, CO, near where she lives in Black Hawk. She also served as a judge for the spring 2017 Western Spirit Art Show at the Old West Museum in Cheyenne, WY.

1994 Noam Elyashiv MFA JM (see page 48) Last June James Hall MLA became president and CEO of 90

// graduate class notes

The Garden Conservancy in Garrison, NY, an organization dedicated to preserving American gardens for the education and enjoyment of the public. He formerly served

Amanda Lechner MFA 05 PT Amanda is one year into a two-year position as a visiting assistant professor of Creative Core (Foundations) at Indiana University/Bloomington. Last spring she curated and participated in STATIONTOSTATION, a group exhibition of her visiting faculty cohort. Warmest Year on Record — her installation of 81 “improvisational and exploratory” ink drawings — was a standout.

Arthur Huang MFA 01 PT/PR Arthur puts his commute in Tokyo to good use by creating abstract Daily Drawings influenced by his current mood and environment. For the Nakanojo [Japan] Biennale 2017, he turned the drawings into “cell-like forms” and invited visitors to walk among them at Sawatari Gallery in Gunma, north of Tokyo. The installation Daily Drawing Networks was on view from September to October.

were at Galeri Apel. In September she celebrated the release of the latest Roosevelt Collaborative Artists’ Book with an accompanying show at the

Roosevelt [NJ] Arts Project. Finally, her ceramic work was on view at Peekskill [NY] Clay Studios in a fall group show curated by Jessica Dubin.

Mark Bowers MAT 03 Paeonia (2016, 27 x 24") and five other works from Mark’s recent graphite drawing series HomeLand will be on view in Drawing Show –Teacher and 2 Students Part I (along with work by two of his students), which runs from March 2 through April 28 at Printworks Gallery in Chicago, near his home in Evanston, IL.


Sara K. Lyons MAT 01 Sara’s solo show Reframing Northampton: A Contemporary View of the Howes Brothers was on view last summer and fall at Historic Northampton [MA] Museum. For the exhibition, her photographs of local homes and their residents were hung alongside 100-year-old views of the same houses from the museum’s archives.

Julie Mehretu MFA PT/PR (see pages 38–41)

studio art at Dartmouth in Hanover, NH.



Paintings and drawings by Brooklyn-based painter Julian Kreimer MFA PT were paired with a new virtual reality piece by Filip Kostic for Reality Show, exhibited in the fall at Tiger Strikes Asteroid Los Angeles.

Colby Bird MFA PH (Austin, TX) showed a conceptual installation last year at Halsey McKay Gallery in East Hampton, NY. Titled Mine Is Not To Reason Why Mine Is But To Do And Die, the work was on view in June and July.

Last September Christina Seely MFA PH exhibited mixed-media works in terra systema.momentum, a solo show at EUQINOMprojects in San Francisco. She teaches

Brodie Neill MFA FD (see page 14) On view last summer at Houston Center for Contempo-

Please email class notes submissions to:

rary Craft, The Sound of Things featured work by Bohyun Yoon MFA GL (Richmond, VA) and Alyce Santoro CEC 94 (Fort Davis, TX). The installation put a conceptual twist on sound, with Bohyun’s Glassorganism series, Glass Tube and Glass Helmet, and Alyce’s woven Sonic Fabric.

Work by Tanya Aguiñiga MFA FD was on view in The US-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility, a four-month show at LA’s Craft and Folk Art Museum. In the fall she also participated in On Going Home at Charlie James Gallery (also in Los Angeles, where she lives). Visit to learn about Tanya’s “idea lab” on the border in San Ysidro, CA.

In Robin Mandel: In Rotation, a fall solo show at Deerfield [MA] Academy, Robin Mandel MFA SC focused on kinetic sculpture, photography, video and the evolution of motion in his work over the past decade. His recent video work was also part of Humorgous Smorgasbord, a September group exhibition at Flux Factory in Queens. Robin is also an assistant professor of art at UMASS/Amherst.

Dana Matthews MFA 92 PH “I attempt to make art that exposes the natural world out of balance,” notes Dana, who’s based in Brooklyn. Last fall she explored the “vulnerable, fragile state of nature” through Dissonance, a solo exhibition of photographs at Tivoli [NY] Artists Gallery. Autumn on Hudson was one of the pieces on view, which were also accompanied by a sound installation she created. // RISDXYZ

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paintings that explore personal and cultural history; he discusses his artistic process in an interview with Emily Jaeger, posted to the online Woven Tale Press (7.10.17).

Adam Anderson MLA 12 Ten Thousand Suns, a “summer-long botanical performance” that has brought more than 10,000 glorious sunflowers to former Interstate 195 land in Providence the past two years, attracts hundreds of visitors daily during bloom season. “This project actively transforms a challenged land area into a biodiverse and artful habitat,” explains Adam, who teaches at RISD.

2007 Shraddha Aryal MIA is the new director of exhibition design and production for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is due to open in Los Angeles in 2019.

Amanda Thackray MFA 12 PR For Porifera, a summer solo show at Index Art Center in Newark, NJ, Amanda examined “the relationship that scientists and researchers pursue with nature.” In addition to this 25-foot twine and handmade paper installation, the exhibition featured cast-glass multiples and works on paper.

2006 Last April Eduardo Terranova MArch was named best new exhibitor at ArtExpo New York

2017. Working with a range of materials—big expanses of gold, plaster, burlap—the NYCbased artist creates textured

Last summer Tokyo-based glass artist Yuka Otani MFA GL continued her sugar-sculpture explorations in C12H22011: A Journey around Sucrose, a solo show at Telling Arts in Taipei, Taiwan. She notes: “The exhibition showcased my ongoing fieldwork in Taiwan in relation to the history and cultural assets of the local sugar industry.”

Dress-Up (frog-legs), a wonderfully wry and eerie sculptural work by RI-based artist Jesse Thompson MFA SC, earned the gold award for dimensional work in Spectrum 24 (11.17, Flesk Publications), an annual anthology of fantastic art. A stop-motion puppet animation by Stephanie Williams MFA SC is featured in Fictions, an emerging artist exhibition on view through through January 7 at the Studio Museum in Harlem. She also had work in several

shows last year, including project #9 at ’sindikit in Baltimore (September– October), Spiral, Recoil at The Delaware Contemporary in Wilmington (August–October) and two shows at MCLA Gallery 51 in North Adams, MA: Cloud Headed (July) and Babel’s Bricks (May–June).

2008 Jonas Criscoe MFA PT (Austin, TX) went with The Nuclear Option (silkscreen, paper & encaustic on panel) for Just under 100: New Prints 2017/ Summer, a group exhibition at IPCNY juried by Katherine Bradford. Lois Harada 10 PR had two pieces in the show, and Joohee Yoon 11 IL, Overpass

Serena Perrone MFA 06 PR Last spring and summer, Serena’s solo show Fata Morgana was on view at The Print Center — where she was one of three winners of the 91st Annual International Competition — in Philadelphia. She is an assistant professor of Printmaking and Drawing at PrattMWP College of Art and Design in Utica, NY. 92

// graduate class notes

Chelsea (Green) Minola MID 07 + James Minola 07 ID (left) Taking inspiration from a residency experience in northeastern Oregon, the partners in Grain Design (Bainbridge Island, WA) focused on capturing “the quiet drama of that wilderness” in their 2017/18 collection of furniture, rugs and lighting.

Borders of Homelands and Promised Lands. Photographs by Providencebased artist Jo Sittenfeld MFA PH , who teaches at RISD and serves as a staff photographer, were featured in The New York Times (8.31.17) as part of an essay on autism and in The New Yorker’s Photo Booth feature (11.15.17).

2009 Projects (Henry Brown MFA 15 PR and Julia Samuels MFA 15 PR) and Bob Barancik 72 Arch were also represented. The collaborative duo Curandi Katz (that’s Nathaniel Katz MFA DM and Valentina Curandi) exhibited The Pacifist Library last summer at the Centre for

Contemporary Arts in Glasgow, Scotland. The ongoing project ( was part of the group show The House that Heals the Soul. At another summer show—In Edenia, a City of the Future (at the Yermilov Centre in Kharkiv, Ukraine)—they exhibited Several Attempts at Sewing the

Gabriela Salazar MFA PT ( is about to embark on AIRspace, a residency program at the Abrons Arts Center in NYC. Last August she led a week-long workshop at Anderson Ranch. Her guest faculty lecture there was a “double feature with RISD grad-school comrade Esteban del Valle MFA PT.”

Seth Wiseman MArch (Boston) has been tapped by IYRS, a specialized technology and trade school in Newport, RI, to steer its new media lab— a major extension to the school’s boat-building division. He also takes on a variety of design and engineering challenges through the consulting firm Conformlab, which he runs with Walter Zesk.

2011 Last spring James Foster MFA SC (Brooklyn) had a solo show titled Cantrip v. Koan at Bible in NYC. Seung Chan (Slim) Lim MFA GD gave a keynote speech at Cleveland Clinic’s Patient Experience Summit, a healthcare conference held

Cheryl Eve Acosta MFA 09 JM This cuff, Ericius (2012, copper, enamel, glass), is among the sculptural jewelry by Cheryl Eve highlighted this winter at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, MO. Barbara O’Brien MFA 90 PH , executive director of the museum, curated and helped jury Women to Watch | Metals, which runs through January 28. Please email class notes submissions to:

Luke O’Sullivan MFA 09 PR Ends Meat (2016, silkscreen on wood, salvaged material, 46 x 26 x 9.5") was among the new sculptures of invented buildings and silkscreen prints on view in Rise and Shine, Luke’s fall solo show at Paradigm Gallery + Studio in Philadelphia, where he lives.

last May, speaking to an audience of nearly 2,000 about the importance of empathy ( NYC-based artist Laura Swanson MFA DM (laura is presenting Street Clocks at the Socrates Annual, which continues through March 18 at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, NY. Her installation is on view with work by 12 other artists who participated in the Socrates Fellowship last summer (see images on next page).

2012 Pushkin & Gogol presented work by Arthur Peña MFA PT at Expo Chicago in September. He is a visiting assistant professor of painting at the University of North Texas in Denton.


winter 2018


Aipperspach MFA PT, Gail Dodge MFA 15 SC, Kyle Hittmeier MFA PT, Victoria Haynes 15 PT, Sam Keller 09 PT, Tristram Lansdowne MFA 16 PT, Tommy Mishima MFA PT and Chris Papa MFA 15 SC. Since earning a $35,000 Production Grant from the Sundance Institute shortly after graduation, RaMell Ross MFA PH has completed his full-length documentary about two young black men coming of age in Alabama. Called Hale County This Morning This Evening, the film is making its debut at the highly selective 2018 Sundance Film Festival this winter.

Doreen Garner MFA 14 GL Known but to God: The Dug Up, Dissected, and Disposed for the Sake of Medicine (2017), a series of hanging glass sculptures, is on view through March 18 in the Socrates Annual at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, NY. Doreen explains: “Their opulent exteriors belie abject contents: silicone body fragments floating in whiskey, alluding to the appalling history of medical violence inflicted upon black bodies.”

2013 Isometric Studio (isometric, the Brooklynbased design firm cofounded by Andy Chen MFA GD, recently completed a new visual identity and spatial design program for the Carl A. Fields Center at Princeton. Manuela Jimenez MFA JM and Kendra Pariseault MFA JM co-curated Icons at Play, a fall

Joe Bochynski MFA 13 PH POTUS (2017, tile on concrete, 3 x 6 x 6'), Joe’s installation questioning the aesthetics of power in America, is on view through March 18 in the Socrates Annual at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, NY.

group show at Brooklyn [NY] Metal Works. Works from Dog & Pony Show, the wonderful series of personality-rich animal portraits by Rob MacInnis MFA PH , are on view in the Atlanta International Airport through this summer as part of a four-artist look at contemporary portraiture.

2014 Amna Asghar MFA PT is now represented by Klaus Von Nichtssagend Gallery in NYC. Sameer Farooq MFA GD was among the contemporary Canadian artists represented in HERE, an exhibition that ran from July to January 1 at Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.

For her installation Dislocated Memories, Julie GautierDownes MFA PH recreated rooms remembered from her childhood, “investigating traces [of home] left to become artifacts of the past.” Along with Tableaux Series—a related meditation on nostalgia and loss—the work was on view last summer at Chase Gallery in Spokane, WA (where she lives). Check out The Lucky Jotter website to see Homeland, Julie’s recent collaboration with fellow photographer Robert Battersby.

2015 Lauren Skelly Bailey MFA CR , a finalist for the 2017 Zanesville

Prize for Contemporary Ceramics for her piece Coral Stack, is excited to have two residencies this year: in January she’s at Penland [NC] School of Crafts and this summer she’ll be among fellow ceramists at a CRETA residency in Rome. Her work “explores methods of making assemblage sculptures, conglomerations, installations and figurines,” she explains. In her role as a Book Arts faculty member in the Art Department at Scripps College, Tia Blassingame MFA PR curated the spring 2017 exhibition Of Color: Race & Identity in Artists’ Books. Andre Bradley MFA PH, Sakura Kelley MFA PH and Nabil Gonzalez MFA 16 PR exhibited in the show—and spoke with Tia’s seminar class,

Based in Brooklyn, Sophia Narrett MFA PT was among the artists to present “powerful feminine narratives” in NSFW: Female Gaze, a group show held last summer at the Museum of Sex in NYC. Hao Ni MFA SC and Amanda Nedham MFA PT served as curators for a fall exhibition at SCREEN in NYC that included many RISD alumni. Tall Nonfat Raspberry White Mocha Latte featured work by David

Bayne Peterson left: photo courtesy of the artist and Kristen Lorello, NY

MFA 13 SC More of the table-top-sized, intricately layered and colored dyed plywood and epoxy sculptures Bayne began making several years ago were featured in Still Life, a fall solo show at Kristen Lorello gallery in NYC. He teaches at RISD and in 2017 also had work in Underlying system is not known, a group show at Western Exhibitions in Chicago. 94

// graduate class notes

Please email class notes submissions to:

as students produced a website of written and visual work ( Tia also serves as director of Scripps College Press and organizes the college’s biannual Goudy Lecture. Taking inspiration from her textile work across the Middle East and in Guatemala, Denise Maroney MFA TX curated an event called CASA BEYT HOME ( for NY Textile Month (September 2017). A pop-up shop offered home accessories made by artisans from the Middle East and Central America, and evening workshops showcased textile arts of the two regions. CASA BEYT HOME also popped up in Dubai for Dubai Design Week (November). Soe Yu Nwe MFA CR (​) showed ceramic work in Voices of Transition: Contemporary Art from Myanmar, a fall exhibition at Lunn + Sgarbossa gallery in London. Also a new member of the International Academy of Ceramics, she says of her recent work: “I explore different ways of narrating my experience of alienation as a cultural outsider. I convey these experiences through the use of symbols (house, shrine, vessel and snake) as metaphors for the self.”

2017 Maia Chao MFA GL and Jay Simple MFA 18 PH exhibited in Who Am I? The Sequel, a show about cultural identity. Drive-By Projects in Watertown, MA, hosted the exhibition in the fall. New grads McKenzie Gibson MFA FD, Elizabeth King MFA PT and Louis-Charles Tiar MFA DM were among the artists highlighted in New & Emerging Art, a summer 2017 show at Newport [RI] Contemporary Fine Arts.

2019 Aniebietabasi Ekong MArch has earned a loyal following for his joyous art site baddieani. com. “My aesthetic is a combination of fashion, photography, art and my attitude….” Aniebiet’s work has been featured on CNN Africa and in VICE and the Huffington Post.


 After graduating from RISD’s one-year master’s program in Art + Design Education, Farah Altaweel MA 17 moved back home to Doha, Qatar in June — just as an ongoing diplomatic crisis began to embroil the Gulf region. At the same time, her work was on view in an exhibition of emerging Arab artists at Reconnecting Art gallery in London. Here she talks about transitions and the # fakenews phenomenon sweeping the globe.

What did you exhibit at the recent show in London? I showed work I made during a Wintersession photo class at RISD. I had never been to a protest before, but I went to the demonstrations at the [RI] State House against Trump’s first travel ban and brought my camera. I spent a lot of time looking through the viewfinder and found I could make protest signs say the opposite of what they meant — like by cropping the photo of a hijabi woman holding a sign that said, “I am not a terrorist.”

What was the reaction to the work? In London someone told me, “This is powerful. You’re teaching in an unconventional way.” I hadn’t considered that. But the comment was validating. I’m really invested in education and advocacy, and it made me feel like I’m not limited in terms of medium when it comes to creating educational projects.

What did you learn from the experience? Before I felt like an observer. Now I feel it’s my responsibility to participate in the conversation, whether it’s about religion, politics or feminism. When fighting against fake news, it’s important to remember to be critical, but knowledgeable as well. People often lack context or knowledge. They preach. We might be victims, but we should not victimize ourselves. And this was the first time I really felt like an artist instead of a “traditional” designer who works with a client to deliver a product. The experience taught me how art and design can coexist.

What surprised you most about RISD? How chill everyone is! I was really nervous when I started. I wanted to make sure I was always in the right place at the right time — and holding the right amount of books, the right pens. I didn’t want to waste the opportunity. But I discovered that at RISD everyone understands that each student is different. My classmates and I appreciated our differences and were invested in learning about one another.

Did anything surprise you about the US? I was surprised by the way people are always trying to know more about other cultures. And they are more aware than I expected. This feeds into what my project deals with: the idea that what you’re told is not necessarily what’s true. Follow Farah at

Why did you want to get a graduate degree abroad? Personally, I wanted to try to be flexible — to actually go for a walk down a city street, try a life that’s really different from what we have in Doha. When I was an undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, three of my professors ( Michael Hersrud MFA 06 GD, Law Alsobrook MFA 05 GD and Levi Hammett MFA 06 GD ) were RISD graduates, so I always had the idea of studying at RISD as a goal.

And you now have a new job in Doha? Yes, my new title at Qatar Museums is 2D coordinator. When I started with QM, I was a graphic designer in the education department at the Children’s Museum. I was making deliverables to reach local families. Now we’ll be redeveloping a visual identity for the Children’s Museum and I’m in charge of making sure that whatever content is being made is consistent with our visual brand.

Do you think you can incorporate what you learned at RISD into your work at QM? When I was researching my thesis I got to interview people who work for educational and cultural institutions in Qatar. That was enlightening because I was able to learn so much about the professional culture I was going back to after graduation. I became better at reaching out and establishing connections. I also gained confidence in my eloquence regarding projects. And I’m definitely better at articulating my ideas. // RISDXYZ

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PLANE AIR PAINTING by John Gardner BArch 81

As an architect living in Bermuda, I travel to the East Coast of the US a lot — to visit my daughters, to go sailing and every week from last September to December, to teach an advanced Architecture studio at RISD. I have always maintained a sketchbook and find drawing and painting in the air to be a particularly wonderful and rewarding exercise.

Please submit samples from your own sketchbooks to

//  sketches, doodles, ideas in progress

In-flight sketching is not only a great creative release, it’s a nice alternative to taking pictures. And since it involves making something by hand, it encourages really seeing and remembering and interpreting. The inside of a plane may seem to offer essentially the same view, but if I look hard enough and relax and just start drawing, interesting things reveal themselves. I like sketching the flight attendants moving around the cabin, but I’ve also drawn everything from the light from the windows to the patterns of the chairs to details like the exit signs, snacks on the seat-back trays and the many greys and blues found on commercial airlines.

Find more of John’s sketches at

I find at the end of each flight, I look at the sketch I’ve made and it’s revealed something about the environment I was in — something I wasn’t looking for, but that just happened.

Rhode Island School of Design Two College Street Providence, RI 02903 USA

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RISD XYZ Winter 2018  

Rhode Island School of Design alumni magazine

RISD XYZ Winter 2018  

Rhode Island School of Design alumni magazine